Community School of the Arts finds new home

 The Town Hall meeting on Monday, Oct. 24 included the discussion of issues affecting the town, including the possibility of a community arts program at the Eagleville Schoolhouse in Mansfield, Connecticut. 

The Eagleville Schoolhouse in Mansfield, Connecticut, may soon house a community arts program thanks to a donation from local benefactors which would be used to hire architects to plan a renovation of the space. 

At a Mansfield Town Council meeting Monday, members of the council and employees of Mansfield Parks and Recreation discussed the merits of reestablishing the Community School of the Arts (a program which offers art and music classes to residents of the Mansfield area) in a renovated Eagleville Schoolhouse. 

“The Mansfield Parks and Rec has taken [the Community School of the Arts] over from the University of Connecticut, and we’re running the classes in a variety of different spaces,” Town Manager Matthew Hart said. 

Having to find various places to hold the classes has caused some difficulties, according to Parks and Recreation director Curt Vincente.

“We’re currently running [the Community School of the Arts] at E.O. Smith High School and the School of Fine Arts,” Vincente said. “When you’re the second person in the building at E.O. Smith, you often get bumped.” 

Now, with the donation provided by local benefactors, an architect will be hired to develop a plan for renovating the Eagleville Schoolhouse, and classes of the Community School of the Arts can then be held in the schoolhouse, Hart said. 

A council member expressed concerns regarding the viability of the Community School of the Arts.

“This is a business that failed with UConn…how is it going to succeed when it previously failed?” council member Virginia Raymond asked. “This is being presented as a business plan that will pay for itself. I don’t want to hear caveats about it being presented as anything else.”

The cost of continuing the Community School of the Arts was also questioned by Hart.

“We’re not in a position to tell you today that we’ll be able to run [the Community School of the Arts] at 100 percent cost recovery,” Hart said. 

Other council members maintained that the expansion of this arts program by hiring an architect to create a renovation plan for the Eagleville Schoolhouse is a worthwhile cause.

“This is an ideal use for the [Eagleville Schoolhouse],” council member Antonia Moran said. “It had an education use in the first place, and this keeps it an educational facility.”


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.