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Excel Academy Charter Schools Builds New Middle School in East Boston With Help From MassDevelopment Bond

March 5, 2020


Louisa Stone, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2089 & 857-283-3340 (cell)

Owen Stearns, Excel Academy Charter Schools, 781-667-0312

Rendering of Excel Academy Greenway
Rendering of Excel Academy Greenway

MassDevelopment has issued a $12 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Friends of Excel Academy Charter Schools, Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of Excel Academy Charter Schools. The organization will use bond proceeds to build and equip a three-story, approximately 19,500-square-foot middle school building next to the existing Excel Academy Charter High School in East Boston. Excel Academy Orient Heights will relocate from its current rented space to the new building, rebranding as Excel Academy Greenway. Boston Private Bank purchased the bond, which MassDevelopment enhanced with a charter school loan guarantee.

The new Excel Academy Greenway will serve students in grades five through eight, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. The building’s first floor will include reception, administrative offices, a small child-care center, and meeting space for Community Circle, the school’s social and emotional learning program. The second and third floors will include classrooms, support space, administrative offices, and a teacher work room. The new facility will also feature 32 parking spaces and a vehicle queuing area to accommodate student pick-up and drop-off.

“We are proud to team up with Boston Private Bank once again to offer cost-effective tax-exempt financing for Excel Academy Charter Schools,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “The organization’s new middle school will offer a unique and welcoming space for East Boston learners to be supported, to be challenged, and to thrive.”

MassDevelopment and Boston Private Bank have previously partnered to support Excel Academy Charter Schools. In 2011, MassDevelopment issued a $5 million tax-exempt bond, purchased by Boston Private Bank, to help the organization buy, renovate, and expand the former St. Mary Star of the Sea school; that building is now home to Excel Academy East Boston.

Founded in 2003, Excel Academy Charter Schools is a network of four charter public schools – three middle schools and one high school – serving approximately 1,400 students from East Boston and Chelsea. Excel Academy’s mission is to prepare students for the future, help them apply their learning to solve relevant problems, and encourage them to engage productively in their communities. From the start, Excel Academy has been committed to the long-term success of its students, with eight full-time staff members providing robust support and counseling services to students and alumni.

“Excel Academy was founded 17 years ago in a strip mall next to a CVS,” said Excel Academy Charter Schools CEO Owen Stearns. “While we have a lot of nostalgia for that space, it has a number of significant challenges as a place of learning. The new building will be elevated above our high school parking lot and will include large classrooms and updated classroom technology, a Community Circle meeting space, enhanced learning spaces for supporting students with special needs and English Language Learners, and a daycare for staff members’ children.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.