A Portland charter school that opened in 2013 and later split into two campuses to accommodate growing enrollment is looking to move into a new space in Bayside.

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science has submitted a site plan with the city planning department for 185 Lancaster St., a large two-story brick building between Elm and Chestnut streets in the Bayside neighborhood. The proposed location, which has 32,000 square feet and makes up roughly half of the building, was formerly the Portland Career Center and associated office space on the second floor.

Baxter’s original campus is located at 54 York St., which it leased from Rufus Deering Co. In November, Rufus Deering Lumber announced it was selling the 2.5-acre property, dominated by the lumberyard on Commercial Street. The new owners have filed plans to build nearly 300 units of housing in three six-story buildings on the site.

In 2015, Baxter opened a satellite campus at 561 Congress St., signing a three-year lease for 8,000 square feet of space formerly used by the Salt Center for Documentary Studies.

“We’ve been looking for a way to get under one roof,” Baxter Head of School Michele LaForge said. “As soon as possible, we want to be the school we are going to be.”

Executive Director Kelli Pryor said the school has yet to sign a lease for the space. Pryor said it was important for the school, which has students commuting from surrounding areas, to be on the peninsula but close to transit corridors.

“There were very few locations that were as ideal as this location,” Pryor said. She declined to disclose any financial terms for the 35-year lease under discussion, saying it was not finalized.

The Lancaster Street location is spread out over two floors and will need to be retrofitted to accommodate school needs, such as lab space and technology requirements. The school will be self-contained within the larger building, with no access to the rest of the space, LaForge said.

In January, the Maine Charter School Commission, which has authority over Maine charter schools, discussed the possibility of a new location for Baxter. The commission also unanimously approved a request to increase enrollment from the current 352-student cap to 400 students for the 2017-18 school year, pending the commission’s approval of a separate application by Baxter to amend its charter to reflect any new location and any related debt.

LaForge said the time line to move into the space remained uncertain, but they hoped to move at least one of the campuses to the Lancaster location by September, and move the remainder of the students in by the end of the 2017-18 academic year.

Baxter has 400 students already enrolled for fall 2017, and has a waiting list for prospective students.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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