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Boston Conservatory Names Project Team for Building Renovation

BOSTON, MA—The Boston Conservatory, an internationally renowned college offering degrees in music, dance and musical theater, has selected Lee Kennedy Co., Inc. to serve as the builder and KVAssociates to serve as the construction project manager for the Hemenway Project, the expansion and renovation of the Conservatory’s theater building at 31 Hemenway Street. The two firms join Handel Architects as the team responsible for the Conservatory’s transformation of its 60-year old theater building. Renovation will include the addition of 16,000 square feet of new rehearsal and studio performance space, air conditioning, handicapped accessibility, improved seating and a host of technical upgrades in its 340-seat theater.

“The Hemenway Project is a symbol of the Conservatory’s progress, its growing reputation and its future,” says Boston Conservatory President Richard Ortner. “Moving the project forward in the current economic climate has been a challenge, but our planning with the City of Boston, with finance and design partners and with our neighbors has put us at the starting gate of an effort that will transform life for our students, our faculty and our audiences.”

Each firm selected brings an extensive background in management and execution of major building and restoration projects in Boston. Quincy-based Lee Kennedy Co., Inc. led the reconstruction of the Cutler Majestic Theatre (along with the new Tufte Performance & Production Center) at Emerson College and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. KVAssociates has managed construction projects for Boston Residential Group, Boston Medical Center, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and WGBH Headquarters. Handel Architects designed the award-winning Ritz-Carlton, Boston for Millennium Partners, as well as the renovation of the Santa Barbara Bowl and the new Flushing Meadows Corona Park Natatorium and Ice Rink in New York City.

According to Curtis Kemeny, CEO of Boston Residential Group, vice chairman of the Conservatory’s board of trustees and chair of its facilities task force, “We have assembled an exceptional team to bring this long-awaited building project to fruition. Each of these firms has a track record of successfully completing iconic buildings in the Boston area. Working with these firms, we intend to re-establish The Boston Conservatory’s place on the map.”

Groundbreaking for the Conservatory’s Hemenway Project will take place this May with project completion scheduled for September, 2010.

Temporary Relocation
With the 16-month-long theater renovation, classes that currently take place in the theater building at 31 Hemenway Street will be relocated to temporary rental spaces in the Fenway neighborhood where the Conservatory is headquartered. Similarly, faculty and administrative offices located in 31 Hemenway will be moved to rented or renovated space within the Conservatory’s current campus. Performances will relocate to other schools, theaters and performance spaces in the Boston area.

Diversified Project Management, Newton, MA, will undertake the large task of vacating the 31 Hemenway building—which has been continuously occupied since its construction in 1949— relocating academic and performance materials and equipment into temporary spaces and coordinating the relocation to the newly renovated Hemenway project in September 2010.

“We know the reconstruction will be disruptive, but maintaining the integrity of our programs for current students is a high priority,” says Ortner. “Careful planning with an experienced move coordination team will help minimize the challenges of undertaking major construction on our small campus.”

The Boston Conservatory Secures Loan and Additional Fundraising
Funding for the Hemenway Project—which marks the first major facilities initiative undertaken by the school in 50 years—comes from a mix of financing and fundraising. Of the total $30 million project cost, the Conservatory will raise $12 million in contributed funds and borrow $12 million long term, with Wainwright Bank providing principal underwriting. In addition, the Conservatory has secured $5.6 million through the US Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit program. The Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) acted as principal syndicator of those credits, with participation of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., of Maine.

Ortner notes, “This is a complex transaction and we’re grateful to all the participating entities for their diligence. The success of our efforts speaks to the soundness of the Conservatory’s financial health and the belief here in Boston that this project has outstanding merit.”

The fundraising goal of $12 million is a major part of the Conservatory’s first capital campaign, which has an overall goal of $16 million. To date, the Conservatory has raised a total $10 million ($7 million for the Hemenway Project and the remainder for the annual fund and the endowment).

“Fundraising is a great challenge in this economy but we remain focused and optimistic,” says Ortner. “In fact, one of our overseers recently issued a board challenge that could bring us to 75% of our goal. We are actively working towards this and have every confidence that we will be successful.”

Funding for the Hemenway Project has also been provided, in part, by the Cabot Family Charitable Trust and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

About The Boston Conservatory
The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit

Joyce Linehan
(617) 282-2510

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