Newton, Mass., plans to buy the former Aquinas College and use the space for an elementary school and a preschool program.
Rosemary Brennan, CSJ, President of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Newton Mayor Setti Warren have signed a letter of intent for the city to buy the Aquinas property for $15.7 million.
"We believe this will dramatically alter our opportunity to address the needs of preschoolers, students, educators and parents in Newton for the next 20 to 30 years," the mayor says.
The school system plans to house a unified preschool program in the Aquinas facility, perhaps as soon as early as September, officials say.
The sale must be approved by the city's school committee and the board of aldermen.
Aquinas closed as a college in 2000. The Rashi School, a Reform Jewish school, leased the facility from 2000 until 2010, when it opened a permanent school building in Dedham.
Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman spelled out the changes that would occur once the city took possession of the Aquinas site:
- The preschool would likely be able to occupy Aquinas as early as September.
- The Aquinas building would be renovated and an elementary school-sized gym would be added. When that renovation is completed, Lincoln-Eliot Elementary would relocate to the Aquinas property. That is projected to take place by September 2019.
- After Lincoln-Eliot moves to Aquinas, the old Lincoln-Eliot building would become a swing space for Newton schools.
- Horace Mann Elementary would move into the newly renovated Carr School in September 2019, Cabot Elementary students would move from Carr into a newly renovated or rebuilt Cabot School. The Horace Mann building would become a community center and location for Parks & Recreation programming in 2019.