LYNN – Taofeekat Lumina can’t wait for KIPP’s new high school to open next year.
The 12-year-old KIPP Academy Charter School seventh grader was the master of ceremonies at Thursday’s groundbreaking to transform the historic J.B. Blood Building on Wheeler Street into the Academy Collegiate High School.
“I am looking forward to starting my high school career next year as a member of the first freshman class,” she said. “This building is as reflection of the promise KIPP made to me and my family when I was lucky enough to be selected in the lottery to attend school here.”
The $30 million project is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Caleb Dolan, KIPP’s executive director, praised KIPP families, students, and alumni for their support.
“They are the true foundation of what we do more than any building in the city,”he said. “And that’s what makes this all possible”
Starting in the fall of the 2019, KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary and Middle schools will be at the High Rock Street campus, while the high school will be in the Blood Building.
KIPP has an agreement to purchase the 120,000-square-foot building for an undisclosed price from the Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank. The deal is expected to close within 30 days. The building is assessed at $2.3 million.
Mayor Thomas M. McGee, while a charter school opponent, was on hand for the event with state Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn).
The mayor said it’s exciting to see the 91-year-old building rejuvenated. Hundreds of Lynn kids attend KIPP and they are part of the city’s future, he added.
“The building’s rich history will continue with this project,” McGee said. “In this area, we are seeing new opportunities with St. Mary’s expansion, a new YMCA, and hopefully a new middle school…we are investing in our future.”
The construction will produce 30 new classrooms which include science labs, special education, art, music and dance rooms and a cafeteria to support 330 students.
This year, KIPP has 1,338 students, including 365 in grades K-2 at the Blood Building and the rest in grades 5-12 at its main campus in the Highlands. Third and fourth grades are not offered yet.