Build Up Boston Public Schools by Michael Lafferty

 In News, Newsletter: Winter '18

At the October 17th School Committee meeting, the Boston Public School district presented Phase II of the Build BPS plan to the committee. This plan calls for reconfigurations of the grade levels at the high schools and middle schools. The first planned closing will be West Roxbury Education Complex, which houses West Roxbury Academy and the Urban Science Academy, at the end of the current school year. McCormack Middle School is slated to close at the end of the 2019- 2020 school year. The plans for the McCormack building will be a total renovation to serve as a high school serving grades 7-12 with a possibility of opening for the 2022-2023 school year.

The West Roxbury complex is being considered for either a complete renovation or a teardown and rebuild, at an estimated cost of approximately $100 million over an approximated seven years. BPS is looking to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to help fund the project.

This same Build BPS plan also includes the teardown of the Boston Arts Academy on Ipswich Street in the Fenway area and replacing it with a $1.25 million state-of-the-art, five-story facility with a massive auditorium, small black box theaters, studios for dance and art and a grand choral hall. This project is projected to open for the 2021-2022 school year.

The city is in the process of renovating a 42,000 square foot building on Commercial Street in the North End as part of the Eliot K-8 elementary school which will be ready for the upcoming school year. The city is currently waiting on approval from the MSBA on plans for Quincy Upper School and the Carter School which serves students with profound disabilities.

More than 65% of BPS buildings were constructed before World War II, so it’s no surprise that there are ongoing upgrades to numerous school buildings district-wide, including technology infrastructure upgrades, security improvements, roof replacements, new windows, boiler systems and new 21st-century furniture for the schools. These upgrades are from Mayor Walsh’s plan to spend $1 billion in city and state funds to overhaul the city’s 125 school buildings.