DANVERS — For two years, North Shore Community College searched for a new home for its culinary arts and cosmetology programs, threatened with extinction because their space on the campus of Essex Aggie is scheduled to be torn down to make way for the new regional technical high school.
Now, the college has found space through a unique partnership with a private business, which will provide the space the college needs in a three-story office building in downtown Lynn and pay all the upfront costs, in exchange for a share of the program fees.
“I was going to lose these programs unless we found space,” college President Wayne Burton said during a visit to the new space at 270 Union St. in Lynn.
But finding new space was hard because of the need to equip and outfit the two specialty programs. Both include public learning labs, with the Scholars Den Restaurant and Cosmetology Salon open to the public several times a week during the school year. And a new location had to be ready by September to keep the programs going.
On top of it all, the college faced a $2.5 million expense to outfit the space — money the college did not have, Burton said. To do the project through a state appropriation would have taken about four years, he added.
That’s where Higher Education Partners stepped in. The 3-year-old company, which operates out of New Bedford, Mass., and Providence, R.I., specializes in equipping space for community colleges. The firm’s vice president is Bill Luster, a Salem resident and former Salem city planner who more recently was executive director of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development.
Gerry Kavanagh, another former Salem city planner who went on to work in Sen. Ted Kennedy’s staff in the 1990s, is the firm’s president.