BAYONNE, NJ - Despite the uncertainty surrounding in-class instruction in September due to COVID-19, city officials apparently are making progress towards the possible purchase of Marist High School and St. Andrews elementary school.

Both Catholic schools closed their doors to students due to dwindling enrollments. With the Bayonne Board of Education looking for additional classroom space – possibly by creating two middle schools – the campuses could be the solution to accommodating increasing public school student populations.

According to City Law Director Jay Coffey, the purchase of the properties would be more economical than the construction of completely new buildings, although both schools would have to be reconstructed to meet contemporary buildings codes.

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As previously reported, local officials are considering the purchase of two buildings at St. Andrews, one constructed in 1950, the other in 1962, as well as three pieces of property owned by the Marist Brothers which are currently assessed at about $9 million. 

While the true resale value of the 9.2-acre site is projected to be about $20 million, the city expects to negotiate a much lower price. The purchases of the schools would likely come through a bond ordinance, spreading the expense out over many years.

Another selling point to the Marist space, officials have said, is that the infrastructure there is relatively new, especially compared to some of the district’s existing buildings which are nearly 100 years old. Marist also has one of the largest gyms in Hudson County and could help host local recreation programs once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

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