Mayor Setti Warren announced that the city of Newton has recently signed a letter of intent to purchase the former Aquinas College property on Jackson Street, subject to approval and a vote to fund the purchase from the Board of Aldermen. With the Angier School Project set to be completed in December and Zervas and Cabot not far behind with renovations, this purchase is the key to relieving overcrowding and other issues at several local elementary schools.
The Aquinas property has a school building that, with some modifications, will serve as a huge asset to the district. The city is planning to spend $15.7 million to purchase the 5.7 acre site which sits between Walnut Park and Jackson Road in the Nonantum and Newton Corner neighborhoods.
The current proposed plans indicate the one of the building’s uses will be to house the city’s preschool program which currently is housed in outdated spaces at the Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School and school administration building. Hopes remain that the new preschool space will be ready for September 2015 so an anticipated need to lease space to house new students can be avoided.
Currently Carr Elementary School is being used as the city’s “swing space” while the Angier project is completed; Lincoln-Eliot will take it’s place for future projects such as Zervas and Cabot renovations to begin over the next two years. The anticipated final completion date for the entire project is planned for 2019. If these plans are approved and go forward, the anticipated expansion projects for Pearce Elementary and Lincoln-Eliot will not be needed.
Other included benefits to expect would be:
The Aquinas School would be renovated and include the addition of an elementary school sized gym. When completed, Lincoln-Eliot will move to Aquinas so that its building would become the new swing space.
Horace Mann would move into the newly renovated Carr School in September 2019.
Cabot students would move from Carr into a newly renovated or rebuilt Cabot School.
The Horace Mann building would transition to be a community center and home to Parks and Recreation programming beginning in 2019.
This newly announced purchase serves as a catalyst for much needed positive change in the Newton School District that will impact today’s students and those for many years to come.
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