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Peabody wants school administration downtown

FILE PHOTO
Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. awaits for approval on a five-year lease for new school administration.

By ADAM SWIFT

PEABODY — Come July, if Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. wants to check in with Interim Superintendent Herb Levine, all he’ll have to do is walk across the street.

The mayor is looking for City Council approval for a five-year lease for new school administration offices at 27 Lowell Street, opposite City Hall at 24 Lowell Street. Bettencourt, Levine, and school attorney Donald Conn will be at the council’s Thursday night meeting asking for official approval of the lease agreement.

The move of the school administration offices from the current location at the Kiley Brothers Memorial School to the new 6,000-square-foot space is part of a larger effort to bring the Kiley School back into play as educational space.

The estimated $10-$15 million renovation project would reopen Kiley to students as part of a redistricting effort to ease school overcrowding. The renovation project was one of four elementary school projects filed with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) earlier this year.

If approved by the MSBA, the project would be eligible for up to 56 percent reimbursement from the state.

The Kiley School would be used for special education and early childhood classroom space, opening up additional space in the Brown Elementary School and other elementary schools downtown and in South Peabody facing overcrowding issues, according to the mayor.

The city should hear from the MSBA by the middle of the summer on potential approval of the projects. The other statements of interest filed with the MSBA ask for money for renovations at the Welch, Burke, and Center elementary schools.

Last year, the MSBA gave the go ahead for reimbursement for a new roof at the high school. That project is slated to get underway this summer.

The office space at 27 Lowell St. is owned by Luciano Dinis of Peabody. The rent for the first year of the lease, according to the agreement, would be $6,000 per month. That rate would rise to $6,500 per month in July of 2018, and $7,000 per month in July of 2019.

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