Nevada City School of the Arts purchases Bitney Springs Center
A dream came true for Nevada City School of the Arts with its purchase of the Bitney Springs Center on Sept. 30. Nevada City School of the Arts has been located at the Bitney Springs Center on Bitney Springs Road in Nevada City for the past 17 years, occupying three of the 14 buildings as a tenant. With the purchase, Nevada City School of the Arts now owns its school facilities, and has a permanent home.
Nevada City School of the Arts is a kindergarten through 8th grade charter school founded in 1994. Nevada City School of the Arts moved to the Bitney Springs Center in 1999. Originally developed by Grass Valley Group, the property has been under private ownership for the past two decades. In January, the owners negotiated a transaction with Nevada City School of the Arts, making it possible for the school to purchase the property for $1.2 million, which they have also agreed to finance.
Although they are public schools, charter schools are not provided facilities by the state, as are traditional schools, unless available facilities already exist.
“We have always loved our campus, but it was never within our reach to purchase it,” said Nevada City School of the Arts School Director Holly Pettitt. “We are grateful to the owners for their generosity in making this a reality. Ownership gives us stability and allows us to expand our vision and our program.”
Each year the school raises more than $135,000 in its annual giving campaign to cover its funding gap. Mortgage and maintenance costs will not dramatically reduce yearly expenses, however, the potential to rent the unoccupied buildings can provide a new source of revenue for the school, and the long-term security will stabilize the budget.
Nevada City School of the Arts will soon begin improvements on the buildings it currently occupies. The school will also begin work with the Natural Playgrounds Company to launch a multi-year project to create environmentally integrated play spaces.
Nevada City School of the Arts is exploring complimentary uses for the buildings it currently does not occupy. The school is talking with interested parties to lease some of the additional vacant buildings. Nevada County Charter Services, which provides special education services to the school, moved its office to the campus in August.
“The potential is tremendous for this campus to become a hub focused on education, the arts, the environment and youth,” said Pettitt.
The site lies 10 minutes outside of downtown Grass Valley and 15 minutes from downtown Nevada City. The 316-acre property includes 14 buildings of various sizes, a trail system, forested areas as well as open hillsides.
Anyone interested in learning more about Nevada City School of the Arts and the Bitney Springs Center can contact Jody Deaderick, Assistant Director, at 530-273-7736 ext. 204.
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