Oak Bluffs voters backed the construction of a new school administration building in a single-issue town meeting Thursday evening.

The nearly unanimous vote came as a small political victory for the superintendent, who has advocated for a new building for many years.

But it had no legal significance.

The article, which requires the backing of all six towns, has already been defeated by half of them.

Town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport explained the awkward situation prior to the vote, but maintained that the vote may prove valuable to the effort to galvanize enough support next time.

“Legally, what you do tonight has no significance whatsoever,” Mr. Rappaport said. “It may have political significance because if the school committee goes back to figure out whether to go forward again, they may want to hear a statement from Oak Bluffs about how they feel about it.”

A total of 55 voters attended the meeting at the Oak Bluffs School, a tiny 1.7 per cent of registered voters. Moderator Jack Law presided over the single-article warrant.

The vote followed a half-hour discussion of the merits of the new building project, which would be located at the regional high school campus and house the regional district offices.

The schools were asking for up to $3.9 million for the overall project, which would be a shared cost among the six towns.

The current building, located across from the Tisbury School, was built in the 1920s and served as the first Catholic church on the Island.

The superintendent’s office moved in during the 1970s with a four-member staff. Today, 22 educators work in the building, which they say is cramped and structurally unsound.

In addition, it’s not handicapped accessible.

Assistant superintendent Matt D’Andrea, who will become superintendent at the end of the school year, took voters on a virtual tour of the current building, using pictures that showed work spaces with little privacy, steep stairwells and separating floorboards.

Following his presentation, many voters took the microphone to endorse a replacement.

“The current pictures are appalling,” said Richard Toole. “It’s embarrassing to think that our administrators of our entire school system have to go to work in that building every day.”

The town financial and advisory committee, which opposed the purchase of a regional building for the elderly at the annual town meeting, was unanimously in favor of the school proposal.

“It’s expensive and I don’t like spending money, but when you have to, you have to,” said finance committee member Maura McGroarty.

Those voters who were less sure about spending the money pointed to deficiencies in the school buildings, each one of which has maintenance issues.

Going forward, school leaders plan to regroup and strategize about how to drum up enough support next time.

Once they bring a request for funds before the towns, the communities would have 60 days to oppose it at another special town meeting.

Selectman Gregory Coogan offered a little advice to that end.

“More information needed to be out in a more timely fashion,” he said.

When Oak Bluffs school principal Richard Smith took the microphone, he took the opportunity to bid farewell.

On July 1, he will become assistant superintendent, after four years at the Oak Bluffs School.

“It’s been my great pleasure to serve the school,” he said. “The amount of support the school receives from our leaders and departments is overwhelming.”