On Friday, May 26, 2023, US Congressman James P. McGovern greeted NewVue staff, Athol Board of Selectmen members, and supporters of NewVue and Athol residents to announce that he has personally secured $1,000,000 in federal funding to help construct 53 units of affordable housing in Athol. The NewVue Communities Riverbend-Bigelow Schools Project was funded as part of the omnibus appropriations bill that passed the House and Senate in December and was signed into law by President Biden. The development will preserve the historic schools and add a new building designed for seniors.
Some comments from Congressman McGovern included: “This development will help address the pressing issue of affordable housing in our communitieis. I extend my sincerest gratitude to Town Administrator Shaun Sahuski and NewVue’s Executive Director Mark Dohan for their invaluable leadership and relentless efforts in championing affordable housing and community development. The NewVue Communities Riverbend-Bigelow Schools Project will infuse New life into this community and generate commercial demand in Downtown Athol – all while preserving the historic significance of these schools built over 100 years ago.”
The development will preserve the original 1912 Ellen Bigelow School and the 1907 and 1937 portions of the Riverbend school. The historic buildings occupy a single town block [3.25 acres] set amongst several single-family houses, nearby places of worship and other small local businesses. Situated between both schools is a new social core articulated in a new addition. The building will extend off a central lobby extending to a wing of new apartments designed for an aging generation. Family units with two and three bedrooms bring new life to old classrooms with unique living spaces. Contemporary conveniences are provided to seniors in newly constructed units that stretch out from the common core in a distinct, traditional straightforward style. A two+ story addition, aligned with the primary floors of the existing schools, will be constructed connecting both historic buildings to a new residential section providing twenty-one-bedroom units.0