On Monday night, Fairhaven's historic Oxford school took a major step toward becoming senior housing.

The Fairhaven Board of Selectmen voted 2-to-1 for the Stratford Group's proposal to turn the North Fairhaven building into 62+ residences.

While Chairman Geoff Haworth, and fellow Selectman Bob Espindola, thought the housing project would do the most good for the community, Selectman Charlie Murphy strongly disagreed.

Murphy tells WBSM News he is disappointed that Sherwood Construction's multi-use community center wasn't chosen, saying, "Well, we have company that has a proven track record in Fall River, local ties to Fairhaven, or another big business that's going to wait for three years to maybe get funding."

The Board of Selectmen still needs to negotiate the details of an agreement with the Stratford Group before the proposal is voted on at Town Meeting. If approved, the company will have three years to obtain funding for their project. However, the town will be responsible for the building's upkeep until then.

Murphy says if the Stratford Group can't secure funding, the town will be stuck with the Oxford school again.

Along with offering $300,000 more for the property, Haworth says the Stratford Group had a better plan.

"They gave a more defined purpose. Sixty-two and a half senior housing, versus three or four entities being in one building. There were some great proposals for the Sherwood group also, but ultimately the Stratford Group, I felt, had the best interest of the community at heart," says Haworth.

After previously receiving no offers for the Rogers School, the Board also announced on Monday they now have a letter of interest to convert Fairhaven's other historic school into 55+ condominiums.

While there aren't many details yet, Haworth says he's optimistic about senior housing there.

The deadline for Rogers school proposals is December 31. The Board will review and discuss all Rogers school proposals at their January 4 meeting.

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