The Marion Board of Selectmen unanimously approved an application for Tabor Academy to build a new 15,160 square-foot two-story dormitory on the old TenBrook property across from the Marion Fire Department on Spring Street.
The curved, winged dorm would be situated in the middle of the lot, which stretches from Front Street to Spring Street.
A team from Tabor Academy came before the Planning Board back on July 7 and presented the proposal. The Planning Board referred the issue to the Board of Selectmen due to the sewer expansion issue.
The primary issue with the project was the expansion of the existing sewer connection, which serviced a single-family dwelling. Due to state regulations, if there is a sewer connection available, an upgrade can be applied, regardless of the size.
“We are so grateful to the Town of Marion in working with us on this,” said John Quirk, head of school at Tabor Academy. “We are excited to move forward and are so very grateful,” said Quirk.
The proposed building will house from 24 to 26 students and three faculty members and their families. Of the three faculty residences, one would have a two-bedroom unit, another a three-bedroom unit, and another a four-bedroom unit. Parking for various vehicles around the faculty areas was presented. A looped driveway in front of the facility, which faces the campus, would be for parents to drop off and pick up students.
Quirk and said the intention is to take students from three residential units and get them into a dormitory-style complex. The three residential units that house both students and faculty are New House, Wee House, and the Sail Loft, which would become faculty-only housing.
“We are not growing the student body,” said Quirk. “Our hope is to improve the quality of life of students.”
In other business, the board approved the installation of a bench at Old Landing/Veteran’s Memorial Park in honor of Janet Barnes, the retired owner of Seaside School.
The board also approved the closure of Main Street to Front Street on July 26 for the First Congregational Church of Marion for their annual Summer Fair.
The board discussed the newly formed Fire Engine Review Committee and appointed two members of the Fire Department, which include Fire Chief Thomas Joyce and Assistant Chief Joseph Dayton, Finance Committee member Alan Minard, Steve Cushing who will represent the BOS, and Chris MacDougall as the Citizen-at-Large.
“We want to thank those who applied to serve our town on this committee,” said Jon Henry.
Town Administrator Paul Dawson noted that a recently approved SRPEDD grant would allow the town to purchase four bicycle racks. One large “wave” rack will be placed outside the library and another at Washburn Park. Two smaller racks will be placed outside the Town House.
The board approved a Cable Television Advisory Committee, which will consist of BOS member Jody Dickerson and resident Andrew Jeffreys representing Marion residents. Another representative from the board of ORCTV, not yet appointed, will also serve.
Lastly, the board tackled an email from the Town House Building Committee asking the BOS to clarify the board’s charge. In the email, the committee asked the BOS if they should consider an expansion of the library in their considerations and if they should consider a senior center in the discussion.
“ This challenge regarding our aging Town House is big enough without involving all these other complex considerations,” said Jon Henry. “My feeling is that the committee should focus on the issue at hand — the Town House size and utilization of the building.”
The board agreed that the Town House Committee should focus only on the existing building, and that future issues regarding other needs should not be considered. Paul Dawson agreed to draft a letter to the committee, which will be discussed at the next BOS meeting to be held on August 5 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Police Station.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry