BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — A plan to move North Shore Community College’s culinary, environmental horticulture and cosmetology programs from Danvers to downtown Lynn has been pushed back several months to make sure the makeover of a former bank building is done right, the college announced Friday.
The plan to move the programs from Danvers to 270 Union St. in Lynn this fall was the result of a two-year process to find a home for the programs and their specialized spaces.
The community college programs are presently housed at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, but the buildings they are in are scheduled to be torn down to make way for a new regional technical high school.
A public/private partnership came to the rescue of these programs and helped select the former Eastern Bank building on Union Street as a new location.
Last week, the college announced the culinary and cosmetology programs will continue to be housed at Essex Aggie until January 2014. Environmental horticulture programs will be incorporated on the Lynn campus at 300 Broad St., which is scheduled for a $28 million renovation and expansion. The college plans to contact the 150 or so students in the cosmetology and culinary programs impacted by the move.
“While we are disappointed with the delay, and regret any inconvenience it may cause, we knew we had a very aggressive schedule to make the move viable,” said outgoing North Shore Community College President Wayne Burton, in a prepared statement. “Given the innovative nature of this public/private partnership, the multiple partners involved, and the specialized space and equipment needed by the programs, it is understandable that the move won’t be completed as quickly as we hoped.”
Burton thanked Essex Aggie Director/Principal Joy White for allowing the college to continue to use the facilities.
In an interview, Burton said the college is disappointed, but the delay was not unexpected, given the timetable and the complex nature of the move, involving a developer, the building owner, the college and vendors.
“The whole point was to grow these programs, and we didn’t want to lose any time,” Burton said.
Higher Education Partners, which uses private equity investment funding to help community colleges meet their space needs, has agreed to pay the upfront costs to renovate the building, in exchange for a share of the program fees. The move involves specialized programs that need special equipment, which are being fitted into an existing bank building, Burton said. The accrediting body of the cosmetology program also had to be satisfied with the work.
The building on Union Street will be outfitted with teaching and baking kitchens, culinary storage, and freezer and cooler spaces, among other things. The cosmetology program will get a 40-seat salon. There will be teaching and reception areas and space for noncredit development courses in health care. The building will also get two storefront learning labs, the Scholars Den Restaurant and instructor-supervised hair, skin and nail salon.
The cost to outfit the space was estimated at $2.5 million. Higher Education Partners of Providence, R.I., which specializes in equipping space for community colleges, will pay to lease and outfit the space.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.