Housing property reserved for private leasing

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Imogen Weiss, Staff Writer

In 2010, the Board of Trustees set up a Strategic Plan which, among other things, included purchasing homes adjacent to the school on Loudoun Road. With the nearing completion of the Strategic Plan, the current status of the two purchased houses on Loudoun Road remains uncertain.

The original purchase of 49 Grove End Road in 1969 was to provide Bruce House for the Head of School, Director of Operations Jim Heynderickx said.

As part of the Strategic Plan, the other half of Bruce House [47 Grove End Road] was purchased. Heynderickx said the purchases were to allow the school to definitively determine the south end of campus. “It’s nice to know that the security perimeter of the school wraps round the south end of the campus, whereas before when [47 and 49 Grove End Road]  was privately owned, it was [the owners’] responsibility and our guards weren’t going to be checking the doors,” Heynderickx said.

The purchase of 47 Grove End Road also allowed the school to construct additional facilities, such as the Aquatics Center, with little to no inconvenience. “Since we owned the property, it was easier to do the construction work. If it was still a private owner, we would have to be very careful about noise and debris,” he said.

Years after the Strategic Plan had been set in motion, the school had the opportunity to also purchase two more properties: 10 Loudoun Road in 2014 and 12 Loudoun Road in 2015. “Right now, those [properties] are simply being rented providing income to offset to the mortgage payments,” Heyndrickx said.  

The school’s future plans for 10 and 12 Loudon Road remain uncertain. “Everything is a possibility at this point, but, 10 and 12 are restricted to residential use [for now],” Board of Trusties Co-Chair Julie Skattum said.  

Whilst the school still has to follow Westminster Council’s rules, Skattum hopes that “Westminster will agree that [the school] can use [the houses] for academic use.”

She believes that the houses could serve as anything from a preschool, to specialized classrooms to further the study of certain subjects. “Who knows what education’s going to look like in the next 10-15 years. We might need much bigger spaces, more like the MILL [Make Invoate and Learn Lab] or maybe there will be something we haven’t even thought about,” she said.

Before anything can officially be decided, the school must ask for permission from Westminster Council, which Skattum predicts is a few years away.

Whilst nothing is set in stone, both Heynderickx and Skattum anticipate the  permanent use of 10 and 12 will be decided in the distant future. “We’ve just finished two big projects. The school has to absorb [the new projects] and, we have to see how it is used before we start thinking about other types of capital projects,” Skattum said.