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Mount Pleasant approves Thornwood boarding school

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After a year of study and review before the Mount Pleasant town and planning boards, EF International Academy recently received site plan approval and special permit use to open a second boarding school in Westchester.

The for-profit Swiss organization that operates a private international boarding school on the former Marymount College campus in Tarrytown is set to purchase IBM’s former Thornwood Conference Center at 582-590 Columbus Ave. EF International Academy awaits a building permit before beginning internal renovation work on the Thornwood property.

“Our current zoning requires us to stick to the current footprint of the campus,” said Shawna Sullivan, spokeswoman for EF International Academy. “Tarrytown and the entire Westchester County community have been incredibly supportive of EF’s mission, and we look forward to keeping our presence in Tarrytown while exploring expansion options in Thornwood.”

Earlier this month, the town board granted a zoning text change on the Thornwood property owned by Legion of Christ Inc., a religious nonprofit that bought the property from IBM Corp. for $33.7 million in 1996. The property, which the Legionaries put up for sale a year ago, includes a 410,000-square-foot conference center and office building.

With the deal set to close, the applicant hopes to open the boarding school by next September and enroll about 800 students from the U.S. and abroad with plans to hire about 100 employees.

EF Academy operates three boarding schools outside the U.S., offering international baccalaureate diploma programs and other high school-level studies in England and Vancouver, Canada. The academy is affiliated with EF Education First, which calls itself a world leader in international education.

EF Education First is based in Lucerne, Switzerland and runs 400 schools and offices in more than 50 countries, employing 9,000 workers and 25,000 teachers and guides, according to its website.

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