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Nashua superintendent: City should explore purchase of Daniel Webster College property

Union Leader Correspondent

September 13. 2017 12:14AM
An auction has been planned for Oct. 23 to sell the former Daniel Webster College campus, a 53-acre property in Nashua. (Kimberly Houghton/Correspondent)

NASHUA — Superintendent Jahmal Mosley said Tuesday he is encouraging city officials to explore the feasibility of purchasing the former Daniel Webster College property, possibly for educational purposes by the school district.

“As we move forward with the city in exploring options in how we might use the Daniel Webster College campus to our advantage, we need to keep our students’ and teachers’ needs for facilities that can accommodate physical, technological and social demands of an active classroom as the priority,” Mosley said in a statement.

On Tuesday, aldermen were introduced to a proposed resolution asking the Board of Aldermen to research the possibility of purchasing the former college parcel, as well as a separate resolution to approve a nearly $24 million bond to acquire the 53-acre site; an aldermanic committee is being assigned to study and review both matters before making a formal recommendation to the Board of Aldermen.

Mosley said he is encouraging aldermen to at least study the issue, acknowledging that there is an aggressive time-frame to conduct the research.

According to a release, Mosley and members of the Board of Education toured the former college campus on Tuesday, and are scheduled to visit the facility once again on Sept. 19 with Tim Cummings, director of economic development for the city.

The former Daniel Webster College property, which has sat idle since the school closed in May, will be auctioned off this fall. A bankruptcy auction has been scheduled for Oct. 23, with a bid deadline of Oct. 17.

“I think it would be irresponsible of us not to study this and look at the opportunities that might be available to us. I think a lot of people could benefit,” Alderman-at-Large Mark Cookson said recently.

Cookson approached the school board on Monday, telling school officials the property could potentially be used by the school district. The district is currently in need of updated school administrative offices, a place to house its Brentwood program and significant improvements to Elm Street Middle School, Cookson said.

Cookson is recommending that the city’s Office of Economic Development conduct the feasibility study to determine if it would be advantageous for the city to consider acquiring the campus assets.

According to information provided by the real estate broker, the 53-acre property includes 13 buildings consisting of more than 280,000 square feet. The campus includes classrooms, the former flight center and hangar.

The site is currently assessed at nearly $24 million, and the real estate taxes are about $587,600. The property was last sold in 2009 for $14.9 million; it is now owned by Daniel Webster College Acquisition Corp. and its parent company ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind.

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