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March 17, 2014

North Shore Technical property sale moves forward

MIDDLETON — When the budget for the $135 million Essex Technical High School was crafted, it hinged on the sale of North Shore Technical High’s property on Log Bridge Road.

It appears that the school has found a buyer. A Middleton real estate development company has indicated that it is willing to pay more than $4.7 million for the school property, though the deal is still in the due-diligence phase of a purchase and sale agreement, officials said.

The sale of the school building was a key provision of the merger that led to the Essex Tech construction project, as it will offset some of the cost for the 17 cities and towns that send students to the school, said Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, who sits on the project’s building committee.

“That money will be used to reduce the share of the debt that will be paid by the communities,” Marquis said.

The sale of the school was a condition of a “significant” $77.5 million grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, a major source of funding for the project, Marquis said.

When the 1,440-student school opens in September, Essex Tech will merge the now state-owned Essex Agricultural and Technical High in Danvers, Peabody’s high-school vocational programs and North Shore Tech. The school is being constructed on Essex Aggie’s campus along Route 62. North Shore Tech’s campus will no longer be needed when the new school opens.

Along with the MSBA grant, Essex Aggie’s share of the new school project was paid for with a $21.1 million grant from the state, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance.

That leaves sending districts footing $35.1 million for the project, less the proceeds of the sale of North Shore Tech, a former industrial building. Deed records show it was once the home of R&K Precision Machine Inc.

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