By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The City Council considered a request at its Sept. 24 meeting from Mayor Arthur Vigeant to allow the Assabet Valley Collaborative (AVC) to lease the former Bigelow School for the next 25 years for the Assabet Valley Collaborative Alternative School. In June, Vigeant sought and received approval from the Marlborough School Committee to turn the Bigelow School over to the city for municipal use. The building had been considered as a possible site for a new senior center.
The alternative school is for students with special needs, including emotional, learning and physical challenges; they have operated out of the Bigelow School site since 2008.
In a communication to the council Vigeant said the lease agreement was reached after several meetings with the AVC administration.
A letter of intent from AVC's Executive Director Cathy Cummins was also presented to the council. In that letter, it was noted that AVC would be leasing the entire building (34,000 square feet); be responsible for any and all maintenance and capital improvement expenses for the duration of the agreement; and have access to the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The annual lease rate will be $140,000.
The council's committee Operations and Oversight met Oct. 1 to discuss the proposal in depth. They posed many questions to Vigeant, who responded and stressed his intention to speed up the process as the revenue from the school lease would help to support a new senior center.
Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano, who is also the committee chair, and Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder said they support the concept but asked the mayor to present a formal detailed agreement for the full council to review and act upon at their next session.
The committee voted to refer the request back to the City Council without a recommendation.