Academy pg 1 1-31-19

Students, sisters
bonded in journey
By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — The connection between the Putnam Science Academy and the Daughters of the Holy Spirit Inc. continues as the owners of the academy purchased the Daughters’ longtime home at 72 Church St.
D & M Group LLC purchased the 6.4-acre property Jan. 22, according to town records. D & M Group LLC owns the Putnam Science Academy on Maple Street. Dr. Tieqiang Ding is the sole owner of D & M Group.
The Daughters of the Holy Spirit were the original owners of what is now the Putnam Science Academy. The Putnam Catholic Academy was located there for many years.
The Daughters sold the 2.84-acre property to Wellspring Cultural and Educational in 2002. In 2015 the property was sold to D & M Group LLC.
And now D & M Group LLC has purchased the Daughters of the Holy Spirit (DHS) property. The purchase price is more than $3.3 million, according to town records. DHS is exempt from taxes and the assessor’s office said a school would also be exempt if it files for tax exemption.
The Daughters of the Holy Spirit purchased the former mansion of mill owner George Morse in 1916 and moved their operations from Hartford to the mansion in November 1917.
Sister Gertrude Lanouette, president of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, Inc., and Dr. Ding could not be reached for comment Jan. 28.
In December Sister Gertrude described the journey on the Daughters’ Facebook page, noting the path taken toward finding homes for the sisters. She added the sisters will also bring with them a “wealth of memories, joyful and sad, and the love and spirit that has united us throughout our history here.” Sister Gertrude said the Daughters are looking for a possible space for the administrative offices to relocate to once all the sisters are settled. Six sisters are still in the building. “Throughout this journey into the future the Spirit has truly been leading and surprising us. We move forward with hearts full of gratitude. Please hold us in prayer as, hand in hand, we walk this journey of faith.”
The Daughters of the Holy Spirit are working worldwide. While many nuns served as teachers, the US Province is dedicated to social justice, nonviolence and caring for the environment. 
Putnam Science Academy Headmaster Donald Cushing said the new space is “very exciting for us and very exciting for the community.” The need for more space was evident in 2015 when D & M Group LLC purchased the academy. The DHS space will allow the academy to expand and the academy hopes to hit its “dream goal” of 300 students.
When the academy was purchased in 2015, there were 15 students. This year there are 105 students and Cushing said they hope to have 150 students next year.
When most of the building/renovations at DHS are done by 2021, the owners dream of a student population of 300.
 A new gymnasium/wellness center (and possibly classrooms) would be constructed in a separate building behind the main DHS building. The parking and entrances would have to be reworked to allow for parking and buses.
Inside the DHS main building there are close to 80 “dorm” rooms, plus offices, classrooms, a cafeteria and more. Cushing said that the academy anticipates moving the boys to the DHS building “certainly by next September” and that would allow the academy girls to move to the “back dorms” at the PSA, where the boys are now.
Asked what would become of the gym at PSA, Cushing said “We’re not sure. We’ve been batting around ideas.” Possibilities include an auditorium or perhaps the Hall of Fame. If it is an auditorium it would have a capacity of 325. A name of the newest branch of PSA is also being discussed.
One thing is for sure, students and sisters remain bonded as each enters a new chapter.


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