By Cindy Zomar, Education Coordinator
Marlborough – In a video that immediately went viral among families whose children attend the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School (AMSA) in Marlborough, Executive Director Ellen Linzey announced that the school will finally have a permanent home.
The school, which has long leased its campus from MetroWest real estate manager David DePietri, has reached an agreement to buy its buildings at 199 and 201 Forest Street.
“We are in the due diligence phase right now and hope to pass papers in early fall,” Linzey said in the video.
Renting its current home, the school has intended to eventually own its buildings. As such, it has been working on coming to mutually agreeable terms with DePietri and had already purchased a third building, at 165 Forest Street, in 2018.
Planned additions include classrooms, gymnasium
The school is working with Boston Private as its financial partner moving forward with improvement scenarios to undertake assuming this deal goes through.
High on that list of priorities is a possible overhaul of school property traffic flow.
“We are hiring a traffic engineer to examine the layout of the driveway in and out of the property, and the parking,” Linzey said in her video.
Currently, AMSA assigns staff to seventeen different points along that driveway twice a day to direct buses and parent drop-offs through the middle of the campus.
Hoping to streamline that process, Linzey is also excited to add between ten and twenty new classrooms at 165 Forest Street.
“Our families are so excited,” she told the Community Advocate shortly after releasing her video. “This has been a long time coming.”
Beyond classrooms, AMSA is eyeing adding a gymnasium in a separate building.
Currently at full utilization, additional classrooms provide room for innovation
Board of Trustees Chair Roger Jarrett shared Linzey’s enthusiasm following this news.
“We have [had] plans to make this into a campus…The two leased buildings were key pieces to that,” Jarrett said. “Now the challenges will be to determine what we can and cannot do with regard to zoning, any wetland issues, etc., and [to] see where we can build our gymnasium.” Jarrett also mentioned the same concerns about classroom space and traffic flow Linzey raised, suggesting that a ring road around all of AMSA’s buildings would make the campus safer for staff and students.
“Two floors of brand-new, standard-sized modern classrooms will relieve the space crunch, and they won’t be conversions of office space as in the other buildings,” he then said on the topic of classroom expansions.
He added, “We are currently using 100% of our classrooms every single period, which doesn’t leave room for more curriculum or innovation. AMSA has done amazingly well with our current space, but give us more classrooms and we will be able to do so much more.”
The AMSA community is celebrating this month, even as Linzey stressed in her video that there is still work to do to actually finalize this deal.
“Our teachers and staff are thrilled,” Linzey said. “It has been a rough year for everyone, so this is quite a morale booster. It’s great to have something positive to look forward to.”
Jarret echoed her comments.
“This has been a long and difficult road, but we now have the chance to build a quality campus,” he said. “I’m very excited about what this can do for AMSA’s future.”