State launches bidding on SSU South Campus | News | – The Salem News

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Updated: June 9, 2022 @ 7:48 am
The state has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the future use of South Campus of Salem State University.

Staff Writer
The state has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the future use of South Campus of Salem State University.
SALEM — Now up for bid: an entire college campus.
The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance has opened a three-month window requesting proposals to buy and build out Salem State University’s South Campus. Proposals are due by Tuesday, May 24.
South Campus includes about 23 acres off of Harrison Road and Loring Avenue. Today, the campus supports the Harrington Building — housing SSU’s nursing, occupational therapy, criminal justice and health care studies programs — and the Bates Residence Complex, as well as a now-closed preschool and entrance to the Forest River Conservation Area.
City, state and university officials have been pondering the idea of redeveloping South Campus as far back as 2013. Forums held just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic suggested the site could support up to 400 homes, though it was noted that the rocky and hilly conditions on the property leaves only 9.8 acres of developable land. In the meantime, Salem State has also been planning to reorganize its three campuses, which would allow university uses on the South Campus to be assimilated into the Harrington (previously Central) and North campuses.
“DCAMM is committed to helping our partners at Salem State University move closer to realizing their Campus Master Vision through the sale of the South Campus property,” DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone said in a release.
“The property also offers an exciting redevelopment opportunity for the city of Salem and the surrounding community.”
Past public comment on the issue has varied. Some attending forums have pushed for the site to support some combination of affordable, elderly and veteran housing.
Others have argued it should at least partly remain open space to absorb and handle flooding issues around Forest River.
City Mayor Kim Driscoll said the state’s announcement is “a major step forward in the reuse of this significant property in our city.”
“It holds the potential to help address our very real community housing needs, improve access to and preservation of sensitive conservation areas, and protect a unique historic building,” Driscoll said. “This project has the opportunity to be transformational for the South Salem neighborhood and our city as a whole.”
South Campus also includes the historic, and likely savable, Saint Chretienne Convent. The building was previously home to the St. Chretienne Academy, which opened in 1914 and ran as a boarding school until 1971, after which Salem State College bought the property. The Saint Chretienne School building, built in 1936 to pair with the convent, would likely not be saved.
University President John Keenan said the launch of a request for proposals (RFP) kicks off years of capitol planning that “ will make such a significant parcel in a desirable location available, while at the same time consolidating our campus footprint, so that we can offer a more cohesive student experience.”
“Though the relocation of South campus programs is not imminent, the university looks forward to the benefits that a consolidated campus footprint will bring,” Keenan said. “This RFP moves us closer to achieving that vision.”
To view the request for proposals, visit
Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.
Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.
Staff Writer
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