SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 19, 2013

NSCC building deal folds

Culinary, cosmetology programs in limbo

DANVERS — North Shore Community College’s plans to shift its culinary arts and cosmetology programs to a former bank building in downtown Lynn have collapsed like a half-baked cake.

“We are heartbroken because it would have been a great project,” said North Shore Community College interim President Janice Forsstrom.

The popular workforce programs, currently in the Berry Building at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, need to move at the end of the academic year to make room for the new $133 million Essex Technical High School.

Without a new space, the two programs are in limbo at least for the coming school year. The college’s license to operate the cosmetology program expires in June and is site dependent, meaning it can’t be renewed until the college can meet specific space requirements, such as practice rooms.

The college is resuming its search for space with the state Division of Capital Asset Management, which will issue a request for proposals to find a suitable location by June 2015. It is also in discussion with new Essex Tech Superintendent Dan O’Connell about whether the college can make use of some of the technical school’s new culinary arts and cosmetology facilities.

The college has spent the last three years looking for a new home for these programs and thought it found one through an agreement with Higher Education Partners, a company that equips community college spaces.

The agreement called for the programs to relocate to 270 Union St. in Lynn, a three-story office building across the street from Lynn Community Health Center.

Higher Education Partners was to pay the upfront costs for the renovations and to lease the space, and the college was to share fees from the programs for 20 years. The programs are not easy to move because they require certain equipment and operate public learning labs: the Scholars Den Restaurant and a cosmetology salon, both of which are open to the public several times a week. The college faced a $2.5 million expense to outfit the spaces.

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