Council Approves Acquisition of Property for School Programs

Two public school programs, the Chelsea Opportunity Academy and the Intergenerational Literacy Program, look to soon have a new home. Monday night, the city council approved the acquisition of property at 26 County Road using ARPA federal Covid relief funds. “Both the City and the current owner have conducted independent appraisals of the property, with valuations of $2.8 million,” said City Manager Fidel Maltez. “We have successfully negotiated a Purchase and Sales Agreement for a sale price of $2.6 million, which is below both appraised values. Additionally, we have agreed to the temporary use of the property with the owner, allowing the current owner to use select spaces during unoccupied time to facilitate the owner’s transition.” Maltez said that no city funds will be used to make the purchase, and that it will be paid for with ARPA funds previously approved by the city council through the city’s Fiscal Year 2024 capital improvement plan. “With this acquisition, the building will house the Chelsea Opportunity Academy (COA) and the Intergenerational Literacy Program (ILP), two essential programs that are integral to the mission of Chelsea Public Schools,” stated Maltez. The County Road building was constructed around 1906, and the building features a main floor with a grand sanctuary, multiple rooms, and a lower level with a full kitchen, and a balcony. “The structure is generally sound and in good condition,” stated Maltez. “Our school department will make any required updates to meet current standards, as well as necessary ADA improvements. The location is ideal, being close to Chelsea High School with ample parking and nearby playground facilities.” Established in 2018, the COA serves students at risk of dropping out or those seeking re-engagement with their education due to competing priorities. “With over 130 graduates and a current enrollment of 152 students, COA has significantly impacted the lives of many,” said Maltez. The ILP has supported families, adults, and out-of-school youth with language and literacy education and workforce development since 1989. “Offering 17 courses both in-person and online, ILP serves all Massachusetts residents,” said Maltez. “The program includes children’s classes, allowing parents and caregivers to attend while their children develop essential skills. With a waiting list of 762 families, the demand for ILP’s services continues to grow, highlighting the need for expanded facilities.” District 2 School Committee member Sarah Neville sent the council a communication in support of the acquisition of 26 County Road for the COA and ILP programs. “COA and ILP – two programs that help marginalized individuals educate themselves and enhance their earning potential, thus benefiting the city as a while – would benefit greatly from having their own physical space, and the programs have synergies that would allow cost effectiveness and efficiencies by being housed together (for example, they will both offer childcare to their learners),” stated Neville.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *