Stanwich School, Greenwich Reform Synagogue Reach Land Agreement

School will buy synagogue property to complete expansion of a 37-acre campus on Stanwich Road.

The fracture that caused a breakdown of a land deal between The Stanwich School and Greenwich Reform Synagogue apparently has healed as the two organizations announced Friday they have an agreement for the school to buy the synagogue's 11.5 acre campus on Stanwich Road.

The purchase will allow the private school to continue its expansion program that will allow it to accommodate about 750 students in grades K through 12. Financial terms for the purchase of the buildings and 11.5-acre property owned by Greenwich Reform Synagogue at 257 Stanwich Rd., were not disclosed in a statement released by the school.

In a prepared statement issued by the school and synagogue, "The GRS Executive Committee unanimously recommends that its congregation vote in favor of the transaction. A special meeting of the GRS' congregation will be held on April 2, 2012 to vote on the transaction. The Board of Trustees of The Stanwich School has voted unanimously in favor of the transaction. Assuming approval by the GRS congregation, the boards of Stanwich and GRS have agreed to sign definitive contracts on April 3, 2012 and close the transaction no later than June 1, 2012."

According to the statement, the 150-family synagogue will relocate its sanctuary and offices at the end of October (following the High Holy Days) to a temporary location. "This will accommodate Stanwich's conversion of the sanctuary space back to its original gymnasium and theater. GRS will continue to use Stanwich classrooms for religious education purposes on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings during the next three years, while GRS builds its new sanctuary and classroom facilities," according to the statement.

Greg Drennen, chairman of the school's trustees, said, "This agreement will provide The Stanwich School with the clarity and security we have been seeking to fully control our destiny. We have long appreciated the strategic value of the GRS property and we fully believe this positive development will serve the best interests of our community, both near and long-term." Drennen also said, "The future will be firmly in our hands to ultimately build an extraordinary Pre- K through 12th grade co-ed academic and sports facility on a 37-acre campus in the heart of Greenwich mid-country."

The school now has grades pre K-6 at the Stanwich Road campus and 7-10th grades on a campus in Stamford. The expansion would allow classes to be held at one location.

Bill Grad, chair of the synagogue's board of trustees, said in the statement, "We are delighted that our agreement with Stanwich gives us the financial resources we need to build a new synagogue, and feel that this arrangement is in the best interests of both organizations. For the interim period, we will continue our cordial and cooperative relationship with The Stanwich School, sharing their classrooms for several years as our congregation builds its new permanent home."

Last October, that would have had both the synagogue build a new sanctuary and the school to continue its expansion on the campus, fell apart. The synagogue then proposed building a condominium complex on the property alongside a new sanctuary.

The synagogue was founded in 1976 and has held services and classes in local churches until it moved into the former Greenwich Catholic School campus at 257 Stanwich Rd., adjacent to St. Agnes Church.

Grad also said in the statement, "We will arrange for lovely temporary sanctuary space during this interim period. Of course, we will keep our congregation and the community apprised as the details of our construction plans are finalized."


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