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November 13, 2012

Charter school purchase in works

River Valley seeks to buy Perry Way location

NEWBURYPORT — After looking around to purchase a permanent school site for several years, the River Valley Charter School Board of Trustees has decided there’s no place like home.

Instead of looking outside Newburyport, where the school has been based for 11 years, or seeking a larger building within city limits, which has been discussed in the past, the trustees have decided to proceed with a plan to purchase their current building at 2 Perry Way, which they currently lease from Norman Day.

Board President Dana Lowell said the trustees hope to complete the sale by the end of the year. Although there’s no purchase and sales agreement inked, Lowell said the board is fairly far along in the process.

“It’s something we’ve been pursuing for a little while now and we’re hoping it’s going to come to fruition,” Lowell said. “We’ve embarked on a process looking at financing — obviously, we need financing. We’re negotiating with the landlord, doing due diligence related to building condition.”

Finding a permanent site to purchase has been on the River Valley Charter School’s radar for some time. Site committees charged with looking at possible homes in Amesbury and Newbury have been set up in recent years.

“We’ve had three different site committees looking at other properties and this is the first time they’ve considered purchasing this one,” River Valley Charter School Director Jeanne Schultz said.

Lowell said his board has been unable to identify another site in a community where it wanted to be located that was appropriate for the school’s purposes and met its affordability criteria. And at the end of the day, he said the trustees have always wanted to find a way to stay in Newburyport.

Launched in 1999, the school serves students from Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and West Newbury.

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