The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
December 7, 2016
BEVERLY — The future of the Briscoe Middle School building is far from certain, but there’s a chance it will be declared surplus property and turned into something else.
The city’s Temporary Building Reuse Committee, charged with making a recommendation to Mayor Michael Cahill on Briscoe’s future, met Tuesday night to discuss three scenarios involving the middle school and city offices — among them a brand-new police station.
Planning a future use for Briscoe is key since it will be vacant when the new Beverly Middle School opens, planned for September 2018. The city has other space concerns as well — the Police Department has long outgrown the station on Cabot Street, and some municipal offices are housed outside of City Hall because there simply isn’t room.
The first scenario, and the one heavily discussed Tuesday, involves building a new police station on an empty parcel of land at 175 Elliott St., which sits at a front corner of the Cummings Center property next to the commuter rail. Moving the Police Department there means the city could rework the current police station into office space for the city offices not currently at City Hall.
“That essentially puts the Briscoe Middle School into surplus,” said city planning director Aaron Clausen. While it would mean the future of Briscoe is uncertain, the city could have some control over its destiny by putting out a request for proposals, like it did for the former McKay School.