November 24, 2020

Dear BB&N Community, 

We are excited to inform you about three important developments that not only advance our school’s strategic vision of principled engagement with our neighboring communities, but also unlock a myriad of future opportunities for our campus master plan.

  1. BB&N has signed a Purchase & Sale Agreement with Mount Auburn Cemetery to acquire a 6.1-acre parcel of land on Grove Street in Watertown, an opportunity we first communicated to you last November. (See proposed rendering below.)
  2. Concurrent with the land purchase, we intend to enter into a joint-use agreement with the Town of Watertown that would allow BB&N to use the two fields located at Filippello Park, a 14-acre, town-owned park adjacent to the Grove Street lot, after school each day. In return, we would grant the Watertown community access to our new fields on Grove Street, when we are not using them. 
  3. Lastly, we are negotiating with the City of Cambridge for them to acquire our Buckingham Field property located on Fresh Pond Parkway. The proceeds of this disposition will offset nearly half of our Grove Street purchase while at the same time providing much needed open space for our community partners in Cambridge.
Why is this important to BB&N?
The resulting proposed 20-acre complex in Watertown is a linchpin of our strategic plan to build a better all-around experience for BB&N students. This acquisition sets in motion—both near-term and longer-term—-our aspirations to build smart, sustainable spaces for teaching and learning, playing and performing, and building a more inclusive community. Specifically:

  • Our plan for the Grove Street property is to build state-of-the-art playing fields that will accommodate multiple athletic programs, as well as a fieldhouse that will feature indoor athletic facilities, team rooms, locker rooms, and community social spaces. 
  • The addition of these fields embodies our commitment to the health and well-being of our students while also vastly increasing opportunities to build community schoolwide.
  • These new fields will not only provide a superior daily experience for our student-athletes, but also provide scheduling flexibility that will make a big difference in the busy lives of our students.
  • Our plans for the parcel will include approximately 80 parking spots, offering our community members much-needed flexibility to access our campuses.
  • Importantly, the Grove Street property allows BB&N to unlock longer-term campus master plan possibilities on our three campuses that will benefit our entire community for generations to come.

How does this advance our school’s mission of principled engagement?
We believe strongly in the power of building partnerships with our neighboring communities to find solutions that will benefit the health and well-being of children, whether or not they attend BB&N. This community approach is exactly what we teach our students at BB&N—that the world is bigger than what happens on our campuses. Each of these three negotiations has involved close collaboration with neighbors we value highly: Mount Auburn Cemetery, one of the most venerable institutions in this region; the Town of Watertown, whom we are proud to call partners, and the City of Cambridge, our proud home for more than a century. We are grateful that the expected outcomes will so clearly benefit the needs of each organization, as well as neighboring residents.

What’s still to be done? 
  • We anticipate that we will close on the Grove Street transaction with Mount Auburn Cemetery in late January, following a customary due diligence period.
  • Tonight we will appear in front of the Watertown Town Council with Mount Auburn Cemetery representatives to demonstrate our commitment to the joint-use partnership for the Grove Street properties, and to detail the benefits that this partnership would bring to both BB&N and Watertown.
  • We will continue to work with the Cambridge City Council to negotiate the disposition of Buckingham Field, which we hope to finalize in early January. 

We feel it is important to assure you that our Board carefully evaluated the merits of pursuing these real estate transactions during this time of pandemic uncertainty. In weighing the benefits and risks, we kept returning to our shared conviction that ​now is exactly the right time​ to invest in the future of BB&N for the benefit of our current and future students. We are fortunate to be in a solid position to build on BB&N’s strong foundation in a forward-looking, strategic manner. 

We recognize that our realization of long-term strategic moves like these are made possible by the steadfast support and unwavering commitment by the members of our community. We are grateful for your continued support. Please feel free to reach out to either of us with any questions.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. 

Best,
Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School
Charles Brizius
Chair, BB&N Board of Trustees