Redevelopment of former Beal School moves forward following School Committee vote

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By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

Beal Early Childhood Center
Beal Early Childhood Center

SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury School Committee has officially declared the former Beal Early Childhood Center no longer necessary for school purposes.

This action formally hands the building over to the town for general use, according to Chair John Samia, just as the town has been negotiating with potential developers eyeing the property.

“It’s been a thoughtful, constructive and collaborative process to date,” said Board of Selectmen Chair John Samia during a Sept. 28 meeting. “We’re taking time to make sure that we’re going in the direction we believe it should be.”

Selectmen said during a roundtable meeting earlier this summer that they expected a public hearing would be held on the redevelopment of the old Beal school in September. 

Samia said residents will have a “meaningful opportunity” to provide feedback once the project is tangible. 

The developer, Civico and Greenly Development, had pitched a redevelopment of the school into a mixed-use development called “Beal Commons” in May.

At that time, the developers proposed two buildings with a mix of apartments and businesses on the ground floor. 

Additionally, over the summer, the selectmen entered into an agreement with Landwise LLC to help them in their negotiations with Civico and Greenly. 

Shrewsbury’s term sheet was submitted to Civico and Greenly Development on Sept. 1. The town then later met with the developers. 

“We expect as an outcome from that that Civico will refine their cost analysis and get back to the town no later than the first full week of October,” Samia said.

As this plays out, the School Committee’s recent vote “technically…put[s] the building back into general municipal purposes or accounts” for the town according to Samia.

The former Beal Early Childhood Center opened in 1922 and had hosted kindergarten and first-grade classes prior to the opening of the new Maj. Howard W. Beal School on Lake Street in town.