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Morristown Central School will not buy former Methodist Church building

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MORRISTOWN — The former Morristown United Methodist Church building, 504 Gouverneur St., will not be purchased by the school district.

The Morristown Central School Board of Education unanimously voted against pursuing the purchase of the building, vacated in August and marketed at $130,000, as members felt the money could be spent better elsewhere.

“I’d much rather spend that money on making the education better here at Morristown,” Board Vice President W. Darrell Merkel said at Wednesday’s board meeting.

President Cyril Aldrich Jr. said the denomination plans on removing the building’s stained glass windows and pews and noted that the lack of fire alarms in the sanctuary would significantly raise the cost of preparing the building to be occupied by students.

Currently the district uses the church parking lot for faculty parking and there was concern that the next occupant may not let that relationship continue.

“If something happened and we weren’t able to use that parking we could build a heck of a lot cheaper parking lot at the end [of the school’s west wing],” Mr. Aldrich said.

Retired Morristown teacher Mark C. Blanchard spoke against the potential purchase at the meeting as well.

“We’re academically insolvent,” Mr. Blanchard said. “It seems to me that $130,000 would be more than enough to reinstate faculty and offer more choices for students.”

“It’s an awful expensive parking lot,” Mr. Blanchard said.

Mr. Aldrich said he has been told that the Catholic Church, which has a building on the corner of Gouverneur and Columbia Street, has expressed interest in the old Methodist Church.

“They would probably let us use [the parking lot],” Mr. Aldrich said.

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