Members of the Decas School Steering Committee heard possible plans for the interior design of the old school building, a list of potential expenses and plans from a potential tenant during the committee meeting on Wednesday evening.
Clerk Jon Dallmeyer presented a proposed map of how space in the Decas School building could be used by various city entities, residents and other organizations.
If all of the preschool, extracurricular and flexible-use spaces are rented in the building, he said, the building could be considered paid for. Other proposed areas in the building include space for the Council on Aging, pantry, adult education space, industrial kitchen, and other small rental areas.
The cost to operate the facility, Dallmeyer said, is estimated at $3.50 per square foot per year.
Expenses for running the building as a community center, which Dallmeyer presented after working with city administrator Derek Sullivan to estimate costs, total about $130,000 for fiscal year 2021.
Members also heard of a Wareham resident who recently expressed interest in setting up an art studio in the building, Cara Bean.
Bean, who said she moved to Wareham at the start of the pandemic to be with her parents, is an illustrator with more than a decade of experience teaching art in Lexington. She is currently working on a mental health-focused graphic novel, she said.
When she first moved to town, Bean saw a need.
“There’s not enough artistic stuff,” she said Wednesday night.
Now, the idea of a community center could mean there’s room for Bean to operate a studio, where people of all ages could learn to draw or paint alongside him. She floated ideas like free art time after school or teaching classes for adults and advanced students for a fee.
Committee members generally expressed support, and Dallmeyer praised Bean’s ideas.
“I think that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the community center,” he said.