Lowell Charter School for At-Risk Students to Purchase Building with Help from $2.61 Million in MassDevelopment Bonds

March 11, 2010

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086
Patrick Cook, Middlesex Community College, 978-656-3134

MassDevelopment has issued $2.61 million in tax-exempt and taxable bonds on behalf of Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School (LMACS), which plans to use proceeds from the bonds to purchase the five-story, 54,000-square-foot Pollard Building at 67 Middle St., where the School has been a tenant for 10 years. The financing package also includes a $660,000 MassDevelopment mortgage insurance guarantee, allowing the school to minimize its equity contribution. The project is expected to create five new jobs. The bonds were purchased by the Enterprise Bank & Trust Company in Lowell.

Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School transitioned from a high school dropout recovery program to a charter high school that serves 150 students, ages 16 to 21. LMACS serves students who have either left their district high school before graduation or who face significant risk of dropping out of school.

“The staff at Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School work to ensure that these at-risk students are successful academically, emotionally, and socially,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver. “The School's mission takes all these factors into account, helping these students achieve success where they might have known only failure. We're pleased the Agency's ability to issue these bonds can help Lowell Middlesex Academy purchase its building in downtown Lowell.”

Dr. Margaret McDevitt, LMACS's chief administrator, said “We are very excited about this purchase. The additional space will allow us to increase our offerings to our students and our commitment to serving our population of at risk students in a facility we can call home.” The added space will afford the School to expand its offerings in traditional subjects as well as in the arts.

The building that Lowell Middlesex Academy is purchasing also houses Allegiance Hospice Care and in the near future, Middlesex Community College. The School's curriculum is designed for students enrolling with little high school credit and ongoing hurdles to regular school attendance. Lowell Middlesex Academy also sets high standards for these students, including progress toward “10 Ethical Values” and the ability to make informed college and career choices upon graduating. Though most students are from Lowell, the School also enrolls teens from Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lawrence, Methuen, Rowley, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, and Westford.

Speaking on behalf of Middlesex Community College, Executive Vice-President Jay Linnehan said the partnership with LMACS and the acquisition of the downtown property is a “win-win” for both institutions. Linnehan said the Middle Street property will complement the college's existing health and science programs that are located across the street in MCC's Middle Street buildings.

“With the burgeoning enrollments the college has been seeing from semester to semester, this space will provide us with new options for our growing population of students, and we're excited to work with LMACS to help use that terrific building to an even greater potential,” said Linnehan.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 1,488 new housing units and 8,232 jobs: 3,362 permanent and 4,870 construction-related.