With the stroke of a pen, a former school building became an arts and community center at a selectmen’s meeting on Thursday.
Selectmen unanimously approved leasing the former Avery Elementary School building to the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center, the culmination of five years of meetings and discussions related to the space.
“This document tonight represents countless hours of so many people,” said Selectman Paul Reynolds at Thursday’s meeting. “Many of them were volunteers who dedicated themselves to realize a vision that came out of the Avery reuse process.”
Selectmen Chairman Carmen DelloIacono emphasized the fact that the group would pay rent for the building. According to the 10-year lease, rent will increase over the life of the agreement and be based upon the revenue the group receives.
There will be no rent until July 2014; then the group will pay 2.5 percent of the revenue it gets from occupants. In later years, the group will pay 5 percent, and then 7.5 percent.
The group will move in on March 1, but have access to the building as of Thursday following the signing of the lease.
Following March 1, the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center group will pay utility and upkeep of the building, with the exception of 50 percent of the cost of replacing the boiler.
“This agreement puts us in a new seat as landlords for the town, which I think is good listening to the residents of the town,” DelloIacono said Thursday. “We do still own the property. Getting $35 per square foot is not going to happen, but other places don’t get anything.”