Charter School Breaks Ground on New Building to Create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for STEAM Education in New Bedford

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NEW BEDFORD, MA–Global Learning Charter Public School (GLCPS), a tuition-free public charter school that currently services 500 students in grades 5-12, broke ground on the renovation of a historic building located at 106 Bullard Street in New Bedford creating “One School, One Campus.”

In launching the $8.5 million renovation project Dr. Stephen Furtado, Executive Director of GLCPA, announcing the donation of $2 million dollars from Joan and Irwin Jacobs. The new building will be named the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for STEAM Education. The capital campaign has now raised more than $7 million dollars towards their goal. The project is anticipated to be completed in a year.

Dr. Furtado welcomed State Representative Antonio Cabral; Audra Riding, General Counsel and Legislative Director of State Senator Mark Montigny; City Counselor Ian Abreu; Tim Nicolette, Executive Director of MA Charter Public School Association; business leaders, donors, families and students to the event. Officials applauded the project for reinvesting in the North End neighborhood and bringing a building in disrepair back to life. City Counselor Abreu noted that the investment in youth and our future workforce is vital to the future of the city of New Bedford.

The One School, One Campus project will lead to the rehabilitation of an addition three story, 18,132 square foot building for GLCPS students, staff and community members. This project will allow GLCPS to reallocate classroom space and offer students an education experience that remains rich in technology and on the leading edge of education innovation.  The expanded classroom space will feature science labs, dedicated art and music space, foreign language classrooms, multi-use classrooms and teacher and community collaboration space. The renovation will also include necessary upgrades to bring the building up to code.

The buildings are on a 25-year lease, including a 5-year extension option, with the Diocese of Fall River. The new lease includes both the current main campus building located at 190 Ashley Boulevard and the addition of the adjacent former St. Anthony’s convent building located at 106 Bullard Street in New Bedford.

Prior to the 2019-2020 school year, GLCPS was split between two campuses, approximately 2 miles apart, creating a travel interruption during the school day for high school students that split their time between both campuses. With the new lease in place GLCPS will embark on a campaign to renovate and upgrade the facility creating “One School, One Campus.”

As a Public Charter School, GLCPS does not receive the same facilities support as traditional districts through local tax levies and the Massachusetts School Building Authority, ultimately placing the financial burden directly on the school. GLCPS will only be able to achieve the expanded campus with the support of the local community, individual donors and private foundations.

“We are grateful for the support of the community and of our donors,” said Dr. Stephen Furtado, Executive Director of GLCPS. “Joan and Irwin Jacobs have long supported technology at GLCPS and now their very generous donation will expand our campus and our mission to our students and the community. This is a history making event for the community.”

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