, Salem, MA

January 24, 2013

Salem's Boys & Girls Club to stay put for short term

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The Boys & Girls Club will stay on Hawthorne Boulevard for the near future.

The club began looking for a new home this fall after its landlord, the Immaculate Conception Church, made plans to house a Catholic boys school in the space that the club had rented for 25 years.

Those plans fell through last month, as the Archdiocese of Boston turned down Immaculate Conception’s request to lease to the Nativity Preparatory School.

Joanne Scott, the club’s executive director, says her organization hopes to stay in its current location past August, when the church had originally planned to terminate the lease.

“The church (Immaculate Conception) has approached us about staying,” Scott said. “We’re looking into that possibility, enthusiastically, but on a somewhat temporary basis.”

Scott said the club’s search for a permanent home is continuing but declined to comment on the progress, except to say the building committee is “very active.”

The Boys & Girls Club began leasing 13 Hawthorne Blvd., the former St. Mary’s School building, from Immaculate Conception in 1987.

The church had hoped that Nativity Prep, a tuition-free school for boys in grades five through eight, would move in and open by the fall of 2013.

With beginnings in 1869, Salem’s Boys & Girls Club is the oldest in Massachusetts and the second-oldest in the country. It has more than 800 members, through age 18.