Princeton Public Schools clarifies offer to buy Rider’s Westminster Choir College
PRINCETON — The public school district interested in buying the 23-ace Westminster Choir College property clarified why it began the process hours after Rider University announced it was selling the school.
Princeton's Board of Education passed a resolution at Tuesday night's meeting that begins the preliminary process to becoming a "viable bidder" for the property, according to a statement from the district.
"As a public institution, the District cannot move as nimbly as private entities, such as developers, to secure funding for new land," the district said, explaining that they are exploring "all options" to serve the district's needs.
Rider's Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted to put the Princeton-based college up for sale because it does not help "achieve the strategic goals of the university," according to Rider president Gregory Dell'Omo. The thought of moving Westminster to the Lawrenceville campus was met with criticism from supporters and alumni of the school.
“While we appreciate their interest and deeply value our place in the Princeton community, as President Dell’Omo informed the Rider community, over the next 12 months, our highest priority is to find an institution willing to acquire Westminster Choir College and keep it in Princeton,” Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown told New Jersey 101.5 earlier about the Board of Education's resolution.
However, if that does not happen, a second option would be to find an institution willing to take the programs and move them to another location but sell the campus, according to Dell’Omo, which is where Princeton Public Schools said its interest lies.
"Should there not be a buyer willing to take on both the college and the campus, Princeton Public Schools would like to be in a position to explore acquisition of the campus in a way that would allow the District to carry on the college's tradition of exceptional education," the district wrote.
Dell'Omo declined to name a price for the school that was originally founded in 1920 before moving to Princeton in 1934. Westminster merged with Rider in 1992.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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