Holyoke Community Charter School receives $8.5M state bond to help fund expansion

January 5, 2022 : MassLive, by Dennis Hohenberger

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Community Charter School received an $8.5 million tax-exempt state bond to help build a 20,0000 square-foot addition to the Northampton Street complex.

MassDevelopment issued the bond that TD Bank purchased. The current 85,000-foot public charter school operates a kindergarten through eighth-grade model. The new 20,000-foot addition will house a gymnasium, classrooms, restrooms and storage, and utility spaces.

“I am excited to see the positive impact this bond will have on the students, families, and faculty that make up Holyoke Community Charter School,” Mayor Joshua A. Garcia stated. “When our students succeed, the community benefits.”

Located at 2200 Northampton St., the school was awarded a $5.6 million MassDevelopment tax-exempt bond in 2005, used to purchase, renovate and equip the facility, and an $8.4 million bond in 2008 to refinance the previous debt.

“MassDevelopment has been instrumental in the financial success of the Holyoke Community Charter School since its inception,” said Cynthia Dennis, the charter school’s board treasurer. noted in a joint statement. “Over these past 16 years, the school has paid off all its debts leaving it now able to build additional classrooms and an amazing gymnasium. Thanks again to MassDevelopment.”

The latest figures show that 89% of the school’s students are Latino and 67.5% of students are considered economically disadvantaged. Besides Holyoke, the school welcomes students from across the region, including Chicopee, Springfield, South Hadley, Eastampton and West Springfield.

“The mission of HCCS is to promote the joy of learning and to prepare children for success as students, workers, and citizens by providing them with a high-quality public education and striving to prepare them to enter colleges and universities that are of the best quality,” the statement read.

The charter school also offers special education, English Language Learners and advanced placement programs. The school hosted a ribbon cutting in 2019 to celebrate the opening of a new addition.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to improving the learning environments and experiences of students in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who chairs MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “MassDevelopment assists independent schools with the financial support they need to build new facilities and upgrade infrastructure.”

Dan Rivera, MassDevelopment’s president and CEO, said the charter school has provided a high-quality education to Western Massachusetts for the past 15 years. “With this additional support, the school will be able to expand its campus and deliver an improved educational experience for students and staff,” he stated.

The building once housed a shopping plaza in the 1970s, with the former Mammoth Mart and Holyoke Twin Cinemas as tenants. For years, a weekend flea market operated in the complex.

In 2021, MassDevelopment financed and supported 416 projects that culminated in $1.86 billion investments in the Commonwealth’s economy. According to the agency, the investments resulted in 6,578 jobs and 1,909 housing units.