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Webb Schools finalizes 75-acre land purchase north of campus

The Webb Schools, the prestigious boarding school nestled in the Claremont foothills, is doubling its size.

The news comes after the school made public a 75-acre purchase of pristine Claremont hillside to the northeast of the campus, Webb Schools Director of Communications Joe Woodward said.

Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale said in a press release the purchase of the land would allow Webb to be “in control of its destiny for the next 100 years.”

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment, made possible only by the hard work of the senior administrative team, board of trustees, life trustees and a small group of major benefactors,” Mr. Stockdale added.

The purchase increases Webb’s total property to 150 acres, the school said. The land purchase includes the hillsides as well as a flat portion at the end of Towne Avenue above Baseline Road, Mr. Woodward said.

According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) real estate report, this was the first time the land was purchased since it was deeded to the Evans family during the Homestead Act of 1886.

Mr. Woodward detailed a decades-long process of the Webb Schools looking into purchasing the property. Each side was flirting with the idea of selling the property, but throughout the years, it came down to a matter of availability and affordability—when the land was available, Webb didn’t have the money to purchase it, and vice versa.

When the Evans sisters passed away and the land was willed to their descendants, talks began to intensify on purchasing the land.

“We got into negotiations with them and we were able to purchase it this summer,” Mr. Woodward said.

Negotiations began in late spring and early summer, and Webb purchased the land for $3.5 million in July.

While doubling a school property usually lends people to think the school wants to expand, Mr. Woodward explained there are no immediate plans for the land just yet.

“It’s being studied,” he said. “We’re having our centennial in 2022, and the school has no interest in getting any larger.”

In the future, the board of trustees will put together a task force to determine the highest and bet use for the property, Mr. Woodward said. 

The school had been interested in purchasing the land for a few reasons—including maintaining the secluded environment the 400 live-in students and faculty members enjoy.

“It’s important to have a buffer between any development that’s happening on the perimeters of the school campus,” Mr. Woodward said.

Two other reasons outlined by the school include protecting the heritage oaks and wild arroyos that dot the property above the school, as well as allow for future development of the property.

All three of these goals have now been accomplished, the school noted.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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