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Manchester developer closes on Rumford Street school

The developer who plans to put a for-profit arts center in the former Rumford Street School has closed on the building.

Brian Thibeault of Manchester on Monday completed the deal to buy the building for $399,500. Billed as a place “to bring Concord’s artistic community together,” the Concord Community Arts Center is expected to open in the 29,000-square-foot school later this year.

“I am very excited that this project is moving forward and that we are putting another former school into active reuse,” said Concord School Board President Clint Cogswell. In 2010, the district moved forward with its long-planned school consolidation project, which merged the Rumford and Conant schools into the new Abbot-Downing School. As part of the consolidation plan, the school board wanted to find new uses for the schools. Rumford is the third school the district has been able to sell for reuse. The school district sold the Walker School to Binnie Media for $900,000 and the Dame School to the city of Concord for $1.

The school board will meet later this month to discuss how best to appropriate the money from the sale.

In talking about the Concord project, Thibeault has pointed to his Pawtucket Armory development in Pawtucket, R.I., where he renovated a 48,000-square-foot armory. Thibeault envisions using the old school as an arts center for local artists looking for unique space centrally located to the downtown arts scene. The building offers large and small space to create and promote grown in the Concord arts community.

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