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Virtual School

Greenfield virtual school moving downtown

Ed Berlin, chairman of the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School board of trustees.. Recorder/Paul Franz

Ed Berlin, chairman of the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School board of trustees.. Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School plans to begin 2014 in a new downtown venue: the top floor of the Arts Block.

The new 3,000-square-foot space, which takes up the whole top floor of the Arts Block, will serve as the virtual school’s new home base, said Ed Berlin, chairman of the school’s board of trustees. The board will pay landlord Ed Wierzbowski $2,000 per month in rent, with heat included.

Although the cyber school uses the Internet to teach students across the state, the school has always needed some physical space. For years, the school has used the top floor of the Greenfield School Department’s administrative offices building as a place for school leaders to work and hold meetings and for local students to come in for tutoring.

Administrators will have their offices in the new space and teachers can come to conduct lessons in-person or virtually. The board will hold its monthly meetings there, too, which are open to the public.

“It’s really going to be a magnificent space that anyone who comes up is going to really love,” said Berlin.

Virtual school leaders plan to move into the new facility in early January. They’ll organize the space using temporary partitions for now, but will eventually construct permanent dividers.

The space is accessible by an elevator and two staircases, said Berlin. He is working out parking arrangements with Mayor William Martin.

The board put out a request for proposals earlier this fall and received responses from Wierzbowski and Donoghue Realty Co. Two potential spaces through Donoghue would have cost more money and would not be available until Feb. 1, said Berlin.

The move comes at a time when the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School is slowly breaking away from the Greenfield School Department, which created the school in 2010.

The virtual school became independent in July but contracted with the school department administrative services. That arrangement could end as early as March.

About 500 students attend the school, including 15 from Greenfield.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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