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MacDuffie announces relocation to Granby

Date: 12/13/2010

Dec. 13, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- What is Springfield's loss is Granby's gain.

Michael Serafino, the chair of the board of trustees for the MacDuffie School, announced on Dec. 9 it was being purchased by International EC LLC, the group that has announced it is converting the former St. Hyacinth Seminary in Granby into an international private secondary school.

MacDuffie has been celebrating its 120th anniversary. The Springfield campus will be closed at the end of the 2011 school year and will be secured and maintained until it is sold, Serafino explained during a press conference.

International EC LLC has purchased the name, the school's curriculum, corporate identity, all intellectual property, as well as computers and furnishings. The new facility would be called The MacDuffie School.

Serafino emphasized that because the sale is from a non-profit to a for profit entity, the transaction must be approved by the office of the Attorney General. He anticipated that approval would come within a month.

No jobs will be lost, he added.

The tuition will remain the same for MacDuffie's students for the 2011-2012 school year, Serafino said.

International EC LLC has been marketing "Granby Prep," its school at the St. Hyacinth facility as an international private school. MacDuffie has long been a boarding school for international students.

In answer to a question posed by a student, there would be a bus so the students attending the school through a MassMutual scholarships program could be transported to the campus.

The students were to be told of the move at the close of school that day and school officials were slated to meet with Mayor Domenic Sarno on Dec. 10.

The motive behind the move was an effort to remain attractive to parents wishing to select a private school for their children, Serafino said.

"As competition in private secondary education has increased, it has become clear to MacDuffie's leadership that steps need to be undertaken to remain viable. This move to a spacious new campus, we believe, will enhance the attractiveness of MacDuffie's curriculum and reputation to prospective students and to our existing student body as well. The affiliation with International EC will allow us jointly to build on our school's 120-year reputation for developing well-educated and productive citizens prepared to succeed in a highly competitive world," Serafino said.

Serafino said a committee would be formed to address the sale and redevelopment of the property.

"The MacDuffie School has a long history in the city of Springfield and today's news comes as a surprise to my office, having received a telephone call only moments before today's press announcement indicating the school would be closing," Sarno said through a written statement.

"During my telephone conversation, I attempted to obtain additional information about today's announcement and was advised that it was the desire of the company purchasing the school to relocate it to the Granby location because of property the company currently owns there," he added.

"It is my desire to see the school remain in Springfield and I will direct appropriate city departments to reach out to the school to determine whether there may be some assistance the city may be able to provide. However, if the school relocation moves forward the city will work with the school to ensure that the property does not become a blight on the neighborhood and continues to be properly maintained to coincide with the other ongoing neighborhood improvements that have been taking place," he concluded.

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