The former Hamden Middle School -- known as Michael J. Whalen Jr. High School in another life -- has sat for the most part empty for six years when it was officially abandoned by the Board of Education and turned over to the town.
Since then there's been many suggestions as to what should become of the building. Many in the neighborhood want it to be renovated and reused to benefit the community, as a community center that can be used by all.
Others have said the best use for the building would be to demolish it and sell the property; still others say to sell or lease the building as is.
To do anything with the property, though, will require testing of the inside of the building for things like asbestos, lead, air quality and PCBs, according to Economic Development Director Dale Kroop.
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The last round of testing of the inside of the building was done back in 2001-02, and those tests are generally thought to be good for six months to a year. So they are out of date for any use now, he said, such as for the New Haven school that has interest in using space there to relocate. Because of a lack of testing, that deal fell through, Kroop said.
"No matter what we do with it, we need that information," Kroop told the Legislative Council Wednesday night.
A flood two years ago destroyed the basement, including the boiler systems, so anyone moving in would have to install rooftop units on the buildings occupied, he said. But despite the problems, he believes the buildings could be resurrected again and see new life breathed into them.
"For the most part, they have held up ok," he said. And the southern Hamden community has made it clear they would like to see the buildings restored and reused to the benefit of that area, he said.
"I think it's important we make them functional again," he said.
The council agreed, approving the request for proposals for the testing unanimously.