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Land swap on the table?

Parcel exchange would ease Burgess project

Town officials are considering making an offer to swap a patch of town-owned land for an 11,000 square foot slice of land that abuts the Burgess Elementary School property. The swap may not come to fruition, as the current landowner has already shot down an offer from the town to purchase the parcel. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
December 27, 2009


STURBRIDGE — Sometimes it seems life would be easier if people could revert to a system of bartering for goods and services. Sometimes it does not.

The Burgess Elementary School Building Committee is currently considering the possibility of making an offer to a Sturbridge landowner to swap parcels of land to design a more functional recreation area outside of the school.

Hands-on work is slated to begin on the $46 million-plus renovation and construction project in 2010, which, when complete, will have transformed the overcrowded and outdated school into one of the most well-equipped, state-of-the-art elementary schools in the commonwealth.

The design for the upgrade has a significant extension of the existing building off the cafeteria and auditorium being built into the hillside along the driveway of the school's main entrance, which will house kindergarten classrooms and other resources.

The extension, however, will eliminate one or both of the baseball diamonds in the field along the driveway. Those fields will be recreated behind the school in what is now the parking lot outside the existing gymnasium.

Design of those fields would be a much smoother process though, according to Interim Town Administrator Michael Racicot, who is also a member of the school building committee, if an 11,000 square-foot rectangle of land along side what is currently a small playground was property of the town.

The little patch of earth in question belongs to Jayesh Patel of Om Shri Umba Bhavani LLC., owner of the Motel 6 at 408 Main St., which abuts Burgess at the rear.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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