NEW BEDFORD — The Alma del Mar charter school has purchased land in the Far North End of New Bedford in order to build its next school in the city. 

According to a release, Alma del Mar has purchased four acres of land at 739 Church Street for $680,000, which it said was all through charitable donations. The deal involves the purchase and eventual demolition of the home currently located at that address.

Alma del Mar said in the release that the purchase was part of its plan to serve more than 1,000 children within the next four years at two campuses in the city. Alma was recently awarded an additional 594 seats for a second campus in New Bedford. This second campus opened in August 2019 to 200 children in K-2 and 6th grade at its temporary location, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception’s former school building.

Alma is still in the pre-development phase for a new school building to be the future home of the Frederick Douglass Campus and its eventual 594 scholar enrollment. Compass Project Management, the firm who led on the school’s successful construction project in 2015-2016, will also lead on this project. Following an extensive process with the state’s Designer Selection Board, Arrowstreet has been selected to lead on the architectural design of Alma’s new campus.

In 2016, Alma successfully completed the construction of a similar project – a 43,000 square foot school building at 515 Belleville Avenue in the Near North End. That facility, now the Sarah D. Ottiwell Campus, allowed for Alma to grow out to its full gradespan of Kindergarten through 8th grade, with 450 scholars enrolled. That public construction project was completed on time, under budget, and brought $12 million in New Market Tax Credits to New Bedford.

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