Shoreham eyes new clinic for Newton Academy

SHOREHAM — Shoreham officials this week are set to begin talks with a new medical clinic that could occupy a chunk of space in the historic Newton Academy building on School Road.
Shoreham Selectboard Chairman Paul Saenger said on Thursday he was not able to disclose the identity of the prospective tenant, which he said hails from the Champlain Valley.
“This is just one prospective tenant,” Saenger stressed. “There will be others we visit with in a similar way.”
Saenger explained that Shoreham’s town plan emphasizes the community’s desire to maintain some local medical services. Those services are currently faithfully provided by Dr. Allan Curtiss Jr. at the Shorewell Clinic, currently located in Newton Academy. Saenger noted that Curtiss has talked about retiring in the near future, and town officials have been hoping Shoreham could land a new medical practice to step in.
A local citizens’ committee is currently working to make significant repairs to the Newton Academy building this year — the 200th since it was constructed. Some community members are also hoping to relocate Shoreham’s municipal offices into the building, which is owned by the town. Residents have been socking away money for Newton Academy repairs, as well as a fund for new or renovated municipal offices. Wilson MacIntire of the Newton Academy Restoration Association has successfully applied for state and federal grant money to make the historic structure sound and allow it to host future community activities.
MacIntire said work this year will focus on shoring up the building foundation, improving drainage and improving accessibility to structure’s stage and auditorium. Officials hope enough progress is made to allow the academy auditorium to host a community celebration on the annual “Shoreham Day” on Labor Day weekend.
Future work will focus on other interior renovations and the building’s heating and ventilation systems, MacIntire said. The balance of repairs is likely to cost more than $400,000, he said. The restoration association is seeking that money through grants, donations and fund-raising activities.
Saenger said selectmen will report on tenancy options for Newton Academy prior to executing any agreements.
Town officials said this summer’s renovations will preclude any new tenants from moving into Newton Academy in the near future.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.


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