Secondary students at Montessori’s New Gate School on Ashton Road in Sarasota will be moving to Lakewood Ranch within a few months to complete their school year.
Tim Seldin, president of the Montessori Foundation, and his wife, Joyce St. Giermaine, the foundation’s executive director, bought the former Center for Building Hope building and campus at 5481 Communications Parkway on Thursday for $2,295,000 and plan to lease it to New Gate.
“We stumbled on the property right after it came on the market,” Seldin said. “My wife and I saw an opportunity to do something really good.”
The couple plans to offer New Gate the option of buying the property for the same price they paid.
How quickly New Gate is able to move its high school level students to the Lakewood Ranch campus depends on how quickly the school can get a change of use approval from Sarasota County.
We stumbled on the property right after it came on the market. My wife and I saw an opportunity to do something really good.
New Gate currently has an enrollment of about 140 students in all grade levels.
Eventually, New Gate could accommodate between 100 and 150 students at Lakewood Ranch, Seldin said.
“Our school has grown to the point where we needed to expand,” said Andy Cutler, chairman of the board of New Gate.
The property, previously home to a defunct nonprofit which provided free services to cancer patients and their families, has 4.81-acres 10,773 square feet of office space.
Stan Rutstein of Re/Max Alliance Group confirmed that the selling price was the asking price.
New Gate is the laboratory school for the Montessori Foundation and develops innovative programs that can be used by other Montessori schools around the world, Seldin said.
Seldin called the new location a “spectacular property” that is already wired for technology and has good cooking facilities and space.
Lakewood Ranch’s reputation for green technology, business and agriculture was appealing to Montessori, Seldin said.