From Dave Brigham:
As promised, I'm back with an update on the former Sisters of St. Joseph convent property in Newton, Mass. (see January 31, 2015, "Get Thee to a Nunnery").
The 5.7-acre site, which has been on the market for years, includes the convent and a school building with a combined total of roughly 95,000 square feet. The convent includes 34 dormitory-style rooms, a chapel and covered parking, according to a real estate listing I dug up online.
The Sisters have rejected many offers from developers, because they wanted to see the site be used for community purposes. Well, thank you, Sisters, for holding out. This week, the City of Newton's board of aldermen approved the $17.3 million purchase of the property as part of a complicated, but much needed, upgrade to schools on the north side of the city.
The buildings will require some environmental remediation, and the addition of a gymnasium before becoming the new home of the Lincoln-Eliot School, one of many old and overcrowded schools in Newton. The current Lincoln-Eliot building would then become "swing space" to be used while the city renovates or replaces other schools.
The Carr School (which is across the street from where I live), a former elementary school that recently became the swing space to house elementary students while their schools are under construction, will eventually become the new home of the Horace Mann School, where my son went and which my daughter currently attends. The Mann school will function as a community center at some point down the road.
While all of these moves won't affect my daughter (she'll be in middle school by the time this plan plays out), it's a victory for younger kids in my neighborhood and surrounding areas. Too many of Newton's schools are overcrowded -- Horace Mann was built for no more than 300 students, I believe, and it currently educates in excess of 400.
I'm always happy to report good news, and especially when it doesn't involve a long-abandoned property getting turned into yet another upscale housing project.