Foundation formally acquires former Brighton school

BRIGHTON -- The Presentation School Foundation officially acquired the former Oak Square Catholic grammar school for use as a community center on Oct. 12. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino accepted the keys from Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley and opened the doors on behalf of the community.

“This is a great day for families and residents of Allston-Brighton,” said Jennifer Doyle president of the Presentation School Foundation. “This is an enormous community success that was made possible by the dedication of countless people and with the support of many friends. Both the community effort and the outcome provide hope for our community and others across Boston and beyond.”

After the closing of Presentation School in Brighton, the Presentation School Foundation offered to purchase the building from the archdiocese. The two parties reached a $1 million agreement in October 2006 and the center is scheduled to open in January 2009.

So far the Allston-Brighton community has donated $150,000 and the New Balance Foundation made the acquisition possible with a gift of $350,000. The NBF is a charitable foundation established and funded by New Balance Athletic Shoe that supports local outreach efforts.

“We are thrilled that our gift will expedite the building’s conversion into a multi-service community center which will bring much-needed services to the families of Allston-Brighton,” said Anne Davis, head of the New Balance Foundation.

Presentation School Foundation is now entering the next phase of its capital campaign with the goal of $3 million. The donations will pay for renovations of the building.

The project includes affordable pre-school, after school programs and student enrichment in science, math and literacy. There will also be immigration outreach services, including classes in English as a second language and adult education.

Both Cardinal O’Malley and Menino said the new center will greatly benefit the community.

A strong supporter of Presentation School Foundation, Menino said, “This project would not have come together had it not been for the tremendous support of the entire Allston-Brighton community, and this space, which is so well-known, will remain an incredible resource for the community.”

Cardinal O’Malley praised the “significant achievement” of the foundation. 

“Their efforts to purchase the former Our Lady of the Presentation School Building for the benefit of the Allston-Brighton community is a wonderful testament to their commitment to strong families and neighborhoods,” he said. “We extend our heartfelt prayers that the good they seek to accomplish here in this neighborhood will continue to inspire others to join them in this important work.”