From Worcester Telegram & Gazette
“Academy acquires former hospital land”
By Martin Luttrell
September 25, 2007

Worcester, MA - With the acquisition of six acres of the former St. Vincent Hospital property at Providence and Winthrop streets, Worcester Academy officials are finalizing plans for the site, which will include an athletic facility with an indoor pool and locker room space.

The academy purchased 6.21 acres of a 13-acre parcel owned by Liberty Properties of Boston for $3.125 million in mid-August after buildings on the parcel were razed. The school will plant grass on the parcel while considering what its needs are, said spokesman Neil Isakson.

“We’re going to plant some grass to get the site looking as good as possible, at the moment,” he said. “We’re continuing to evaluate the school’s needs. When those plans come together, we’ll set a timetable."

James Pietro, chairman of the Worcester Academy board, has said that there is little land available for purchase in the area for the school’s expansion purposes.

The school had hoped to purchase the entire 13-acre parcel, but academy officials abandoned the idea because of long-term leases held by tenants occupying three wings off the north side of the former hospital.

School officials have said a new indoor athletic center will be built to replace the basketball courts and other aging sports facilities now at the academy’s Daniels Building. By building an aquatics center with accompanying locker space and a parking lot, the school will be able to replace its four-lane pool, which was built in 1914. That space is expected to be renovated for other academic or recreational uses.

Mr. Isakson said there is no fundraiser currently under way for a building project. Once complete, the facility will be open for some community use, he said.

“As we continue to evaluate the program’s needs, we also look to assess support for various projects,” he said.

“We would look for opportunities to open this to the community, which is what we’ve done with other facilities. We have had a strong involvement with the community for decades, and that will continue, no matter what we put in there.”