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State helps Deerfield Academy borrow $15 million for expansion of arts center

— With state help, Deerfield Academy will be able to borrow $15 million to build two new additions to its Center of the Arts building on campus.

This week, MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, helped the independent high school secure the money through a bond issue purchased by a bank.

The money will be used to build two additions totalling 8,530 square feet. It will house an art gallery, class space and chamber music hall.

The project will also include renovation of the existing 64,800-square-foot building with new art studios, a dance studio, music practice rooms, auditorium upgrades and other mechanical upgrades.

By the time the project is complete, the arts center will be a LEED-certified, energy-efficient building.

Deerfield Academy is a 216-year-old independent boarding and day school for ninth- through 12th-graders set in historic Deerfield.

The academy will break ground on the project this summer. The arts center will be ready for use by the fall of 2014.

While construction is under way this summer, the school will use space in the teachers’ center at nearby Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. The prep school is renovating the teachers’ center for its summer arts program from July to September and renting the rooms for the arts programs.

MassDevelopment works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions and communities to stimulate economic growth across the state. One of the ways the state agency does that is by helping businesses get financing by issuing bonds to investors. Last year, MassDevelopment financed or managed 280 projects, bringing in more than $2.3 billion in investment in the state economy.

MassDevelopment provides busi­nesses and institutions access to tax exempt financing for programs and projects eligible under the federal tax code.

The bond is not funded directly by tax dollars. MassDevelopment issued the bond on behalf of the school. Using private money, First Republic Bank purchased the bond. The school will pay back the bank.

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