STAMFORD, Conn. -- In what the mayor called a historic purchase, the city of Stamford finalized a deal Thursday to buy the former school building and 10-acre campus at 200 Strawberry Hill Ave. from the Sisters of St. Joseph for $9.75 million.
“This is a truly historic day in the city of Stamford," Mayor David Martin said. "I am proud and humbled by the city’s acquisition of this incredible property and thank the many individuals on our boards and in City Hall who made this day come to fruition."
The purchase, which was first announced in late May, will be funded through municipal bonds.
The campus is the former longtime home of Sacred Heart Academy. The three-story building was most recently rented and used by the Stanwich School of Greenwich for its upper grades.
"The Sisters are passing on a rich legacy grounded in education and commitment to this community, a legacy I know the city will continue to embrace in the years to come," Martin said.
He and Sister Susan Cunningham were joined by other members of the Sisters of St. Joseph, local elected officials, city staff, and community members in a signing ceremony at the Government Center. After the ceremony, Martin and the sisters traveled to the campus, where they presented Martin with the key to the property. He toured the property along with city officials.
Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls school, closed its doors in 2006. The 10.8-acre site was until spring by the Stanwich School.
The campus also includes the C.J. Starr Barn and Carriage House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In the application submitted by the sisters to the National Park Service, they said the structure is “the sole remaining structure of its kind in the city” and that it “provides the residents of Stamford with a link to a previous era.”
Martin said the sports fields on the campus would soon become available for use by the city's Parks & Recreation Department, allowing the public to begin enjoying the property by this fall.
The deal was approved by the Board of Finance, Planning Board and Board of Representatives.
In 2012, the property was assessed at $10.27 million. The city has not announced its future plans for the building, but using it as a school has been raised as a possibility to relieve crowding in the city's classrooms.