Architectural rendering by Jones Payne Group of potential use of space in Decas to serve community needs.
The above model for potential use of space envisions approximately 9000 sq ft of dedicated space (shown in pink) for COA programs, services and events, including a computer lab, educational space, library, game room, lounge, and dedicated space for SHINE, a nurse, and administrative functions. In addition, the COA would have access to communal amenities like the courtyard, kitchen, cafeteria and gym.
The above model envisions the former E wing (highlighted in blue) for early childhood education and services. This wing is perfect as it can easily be partitioned from the rest of the building for security and has direct easy access to the playground. Head Start, current renting space in a town-owned building, has expressed interest in expanding and renting space in Decas. So has Gateway ABA, a local medical services provider for children with special needs that has a collaborative relationship with Head Start. You can view their letters of interest here.
Coworking is an emerging model for professionals who work from home but also want to access a more traditional office environment. A coworking space charges a fee for using the space and allows for networking and the sharing of equipment, space and ideas.
Massachusetts has a robust grant program to support establishing coworking spaces across the state because they view these spaces as an economic driver: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/collaborative-workspace-program
You can find examples of coworking spaces across the state at, including a great one called Groundwork! in New Bedford at
Decas was built on land taken by eminent domain from the "Tobey Old Ladies Home" for "educational purposes." The Decas family then donated significant sums to support education in Wareham. Check out our video on the Story of Decas!
The prominent architecture firm of Alger and Gunn designed the Decas School, dedicated in 1969. Their firm was lauded for notable public buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Decas was then expanded in 1974, and again in 1994. Decas houses incredible examples of mid-century wooded buttresses spanning the ceilings, an architectural element that would be unthinkable today due to the expense.
In 2016, tax payers invested $2.4 Million in infrastructure improvements to the Decas School, including a new rubber membrane roof, asbestos abatement and a state of the art boiler system. These improvements were completed less than five years ago!
Wareham, like other towns, has an aging population. At the same time, there is a great need for early childhood education, Head Start and school-age after school programming.
Studies have shown that intergenerational spaces and programs benefit young and old!
We only have one chance to get this right, Wareham. The 17+ acre site is well-suited to a multi-use community center. The need is great. The time is now.
Wareham's seniors, children, entrepreneurs and more deserve this opportunity.
Finally, a use for our existing infrastructure that is a win-win-win! No need to say goodbye to your alma mater...it won't be torn down if we pass the Decas Article at Town Meeting to convert it to municipal uses, including a Council on Aging (COA) and associated programming and a senior center, and space for municipal meetings, adult education, training and enrichment programs, Veterans’ services, senior affordable housing, passive and active recreation, youth programming and sports, daycare, small business flex-space, health and wellness services, and / or other such uses to benefit the community.
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