DANVERS — After St. John’s Prep upped its contribution to make travel safer on area streets, the Planning Board last night approved its plans to add a middle school program and construct a sizable high-school building on its Spring Street campus.
After the public hearing last night, the Planning Board unanimously approved the school’s expansion plans after it offered money for a traffic light and other improvements at the intersection of Summer and Maple streets (Route 62) and a contribution to create a left-turn lane at Nichols and Summer streets. The school agreed to make improvements at the intersection of Summer and North streets on its own.
Last night’s vote also gave final approval to the all-boys Catholic preparatory school’s plan to build a 73,875 square-foot Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) high school. To be set on what were the school’s tennis courts, the new building will resemble Xavier Hall, whose spire serves as the school’s symbol. The new, red brick building will feature pitched roof lines and dormers, blending in with campus architecture.
The board also approved the conversion of Brother Benjamin Hall, which is presently used for high school classes, into a middle school for 300 students in grades six, seven and eight. The school hopes to accomplish all of this by September 2015. The school would have approximately 1,450 students when the expansion is done.
Planning and Human Services Director Karen Nelson and Danvers attorney Nancy McCann, who represents the school, both said the agreement was hammered out yesterday afternoon, with McCann saying it took a lot of work to do this in such a tight time frame.
Last week, selectmen voted to have Town Manager Wayne Marquis negotiate with the school regarding its offer of $25,000 to add a light at the intersection of Maple and Summer streets, where a left turn from Summer Street onto the busy road during peak traffic times is difficult.