“From the beginning, it was felt Newburyport was the center of the five towns and there was a desire to stay here,” Lowell said. “We feel we have strong roots in the community.”
Now, several factors have come together that make for an ideal time to act on the 32,000-square-foot Newburyport property.
In recent years, the school has added a gymnasium, art room and library onto the building and the school community is now satisfied the space is large enough to satisfy students’ needs.
“This site was chosen because it was expeditious,” Lowell said. “When it was first built, the facility was a little small, ultimately, for where the school (has expanded). But now we’re at maximum enrollment and we don’t expect to be expanding anymore.
“It may not have everything we want to have — it could be bigger and have a bigger outdoor space— but (they determined) the school is big enough for us. The board determined it was the best financial option for us, and that continuing to look for another site wasn’t in the cards financially.”
Lowell said trustees also feel the time is right, economically, to take advantage of low interest rates available to public entities. The Newburyport site is currently valued by the city tax assessor at $2,617,500. Lowell declined to provide specifics on the purchase price being discussed.
“Fortunately, in this current environment, we were able to identify a bank that will be willing to loan us a very large percentage of the value of the property,” Lowell said. “Potentially, we are pursuing financing that will be based on tax-exempt bond financing with Mass Development. They have various programs to help public entities with financing activities.”
The purchase itself will be formally made by the River Valley Charter School Foundation, with the school then leasing the space from the foundation.