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School moves to Andover

April 29, 2021 : The Eagle Tribune, by Madeline Hughes

A new nonprofit has moved to Andover with help from the state.

The Collaborative for Regional Educational Services and Training, a nonprofit that provides educational, vocational, and therapeutic programs for children with developmental disabilities used $17 million of state money to buy a newly renovated building at 20 Shattuck Road. The organization moved to Andover from Methuen.

The 127,000 square-foot facility, which was recently converted from an office building, consists of 62 classrooms, 10 conference rooms, 55 private offices, a gymnasium, a cafeteria and several workshops — including art, music, computer, and wood shops, an auto repair facility, group restrooms and a kitchen area.

“Helping CREST own a new home for the important educational, vocational, and therapeutic programs it runs for children with developmental disabilities is at the core of our mission at MassDevelopment,” said Dan Rivera, president and CEO of MassDevelopment. “Imagine the look on the students’ faces as they play in the gymnasium or learn in one of the 62 classrooms, all while experiencing art, music, and computer classes – this funding will help CREST create those experiences for those children.”

MassDevelopment worked with TD Bank of North Andover to allow CREST to purchase the $17 million tax-exempt bond to fund the move.

"Trying to move an entire school during a pandemic with multiple moving parts was beyond challenging,” said Kim Oliveira, CREST executive director. “Throughout it all, MassDevelopment, in partnership with TD Bank, provided support and assistance every step of the way. We cannot thank you enough for your guidance and assistance in making this long-time dream a reality for our students and staff. Our new home has allowed us to move all of our programs to one campus and capitalize on the strength of our entire community. This new facility will allow for greater growth opportunities in the coming years and provide our member districts with a strong asset well into the future."

CREST is comprised of sixteen member school districts — Amesbury, Andover, Dracut, Georgetown, Greater Lawrence Technical School, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lowell, Masconomet Regional, Methuen, Newburyport, North Andover, Pentucket Regional, Triton, and Tri-Town Regional. The organization offers educational programs and services to supplement and strengthen existing school programs and services that otherwise would be neither affordable nor accessible to each local school district on its own for students with developmental disabilities

“Nonprofits like CREST help ensure students of all abilities have access to high-quality educational programming in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “We’re proud that MassDevelopment's tax-exempt bonds can serve as important tools to help organizations finance new facilities and better meet the needs of their clients.”