Newswise — A new partnership between Tufts and the city of Somerville brings public school offices to the Tufts Administration Building (TAB) in September. The move is part of the university’s ongoing efforts to support the city after the unexpected closing of a public school.
An 18-month lease with Tufts helps resolve Somerville’s pressing need for classroom space following the emergency closing of Winter Hill Community Innovation School (WHCIS) on June 2 due to building issues.
Under the agreement, public school administrative offices in the city-owned Edgerly Education Center have relocated to nearly 40,000 square feet in TAB. The move, in turn, freed up space in Edgerly for WHCIS classrooms.
“Tufts has is pleased to support] Somerville, just as it did this spring,” said Michael Howard, executive vice president. In June, Tufts set aside 17 classrooms in the Olin Center for Language and Cultural Studies so displaced students and staff could finish out the school year together. “The university has a long track record of helping our host communities,” he said, “and we’re proud to be able to do so again.”
“We are incredibly grateful for the continued partnership with Tufts University and for the generosity that Tufts and its staff have shown our Somerville public school community,” said Ruben Carmona, superintendent of the Somerville Public Schools. “Time and time again, Tufts has stepped up to support SPS students and staff whether through our long-standing partnership for community events, by affording our students opportunities to attend this esteemed university, or as has been the case most recently, providing us invaluable space and resources to help displaced school communities. Tufts continues to stand up and show up for our students, and truly embodies the spirit of a community partnership.”
Rocco DiRico, executive director of Tufts Government and Community Relations, said that when the city reached out to Tufts to explore long-term space possibilities, TAB, located at 167 Holland Street, was clearly the most pragmatic option.
The building was underutilized by the university, and it has existing Somerville ties; Tufts already leases space there to the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE) and the Somerville Council on Aging.
DiRico also credits the flexibility of Tufts staff in TAB, who consolidated to university office space at 80 George Street in Medford. “Staff with Tufts Technology Services and the Finance Division were terrific to work with,” he said.
Also pivotal to the expedited solution were staff from Planning, Facilities, Auxiliary Services, and the Tufts University Police Department. “Everyone came together to make the move possible,” he said. “Thanks to a generous team spirit, the city found a new home in record time.”
DiRico noted that the lease agreement reflects the university’s commitment to collaborate and support its host communities, especially in a time of urgent need. “We are happy to do what we can to make sure Somerville can stay focused on educating their young students,” he said. “It’s all part of being a good neighbor.”