March 30, 2009 – An arm of China’s Ministry of Education has acquired 280 Locke Dr. in Marlborough for $9.06 million in hopes of establishing a prep school for Chinese students.
The China-based Cernet Education Science & Technology Research Development Co. bought the property — which was previously owned by Verizon and used as a conference center — on Feb. 27, according to records of the South Middlesex County Registry of Deeds. GHP Office Realty of White Plains, N.Y., sold it to them. GHP bought the property in May 2007 for $13.8 million and it has been vacant since July 2007.
Cernet plans to use the property to house preparatory students from China so they can better prepare for their years at U.S. colleges, according to Tom Wellen, executive director of Marlborough 2010, a quasi-public economic development agency.
Cernet will lease it to operators of the preparatory school, which plans to charge well-to-do Chinese parents tuition for their children who plan to attend U.S. universities.
The property is a 237,000-square-foot building that already has classrooms and overnight accommodations for more than 200 people, 500 parking spaces, an indoor swimming pool and a full gym.
“It’s a perfect property for this use. It’s geared up to a learning center and that’s how it will be used,” Wellen said. Cernet expects to hire 30 people for this fall when it starts classes, and then add another 20 next year, Wellen said. They hope to have 100 students this fall and double it to 200 for the fall of 2010. “There will be a full-time cultural exchange,” Wellen said, adding that there are a lot of possibilities for collaboration between the Chinese school and local Marlborough schools.
This article originally appeared here