Our House Campus

In 1999, staff and members of the reborn Lawrence CommunityWorks crisscrossed the North Common Neighborhood to talk to residents about what kind of change they wanted to see. Many pointed to the site of the former St. Laurence O’Toole Parish, abandoned since 1980, with the dream of some kind of community meeting place for children and adults from all over Lawrence. On Thursday October 25, 2007 we celebrated the grand opening of the Our House Campus.

The Our House Center for Design and Technology: This building served as the Elementary School for the St. Laurence O’Toole Parish. Built around 1920, the school was closed in the late 1970’s and sat unused and abandoned for almost 25 years. The property was acquired by LCW in 2004 from the City of Lawrence, and after years of planning and fundraising, construction on the site began in early 2006 and was completed in October 2007.

The vision for Our House came from a unique group comprised of both local residents and former St. Laurence parishioners – the Our House Committee. In 2000, following a Parish Reunion and Mass on the site, this group met and established the idea that this property could, once again, serve as a gathering place in the North Common and help families by being “another big room in our house.” Today, Our House is the home of Movement City, LCW’s dynamic youth network and as well as FAB — the Family Asset Building initiatives which help families with education and home buying. The building, designed by architect Bruce Hampton, is a “green building” taking advantage of Solar and Geothermal technology in order to reduce energy costs as well as the building’s “energy footprint” on the planet.

The Hennigan Center: Originally built as the home and office of a local judge, this 19th Century historic Victorian was bought by the St. Laurence’s parish as a “rectory”, a home for the Parish Priests. When the parish closed, Merrimack College took over the property and for the next twenty years it was used for a variety of residential and local program purposes by the College, including the Urban Institute; a program that assisted in community development efforts in the City. The property was sold to LCW in 2006 and has been renovated to serve as both a residency program for LCW’s youth network, Movement City, as well as LCW’s community organizing, real estate development, member support and administration departments. The building is named in the memory of Father Thomas Hennigan OSA who served Merrimack College and the Lawrence community in the 1980’s.

These two structures and their grounds are known as the Our House Campus!

Project Team

Project Director Tamar Kotelchuck
Director of Real Estate Lisa Kozol
Attorneys Armand Hyatt, Hyatt and Hyatt Dan Rosen, Klein Hornig LLP
Architect Bruce Hampton, Elton Hampton Assoc.
General Contractor LD. Russo Construction, Ed Cuddahy & Steve Canteli
Resource Development Jess Andors, Lisa Torrisi, ADS Ventures, Susan Karant
Our House Committee Mary Young, Belgica Urbaez, Miquel Sanchez, Pablo Urbaez, Nelson and Xiomara Silvestre, Thomas Pena, Viviani Pena, Glondi Pena, Rebecca Jani, Prima Jani, Marta Vega, Alvin Rodriguez, Maria Betances, Maria Calderon, Lidia Taveras, Marina De Rosario, Jose Juan Ortega



Major Contributors

Riley Foundation
Mass Technology Collaborative
Citizen’s Bank
City of Lawrence, Mayor Michael Sullivan
Bank of America
Stevens Foundation
Amelia Peabody Foundation
State Representatives William Lantigua and David Torrisi
Strategic Grant Partners
State Senator Susan Tucker
NeighborWorks Network
Congressman Marty Meehan
Fireman Foundation
Congressman John Oliver
Annie E Casey Foundation
Neighborhood Partners
Herman Miller Foundation