For Immediate Release
July 31, 2013
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today applauded the Massachusetts School Building Authority for moving forward with a plan to explore merging two school renovation projects into one – which, if approved, would create a new, custom-built home for the Quincy Upper School and Boston Arts Academy in 2017.
“Combining these projects is cost-effective and space-effective, and offers far better educational spaces for both schools because they would share resources,” said Mayor Menino. “With this approach students in the Quincy Upper School will gain a facility that supports 21st-century learning and Boston Arts Academy will set the national standard for public arts education. Last week I urged the MSBA to support this concept and I am pleased the Board voted today to move forward.”
Today’s vote authorizes the MSBA, the City of Boston and BPS to explore a combined location for the schools. The new school building would be home to the Quincy Upper School, which serves grades 6-12 and offers a coveted International Baccalaureate Program, and Boston Arts Academy, which serves grades 9-12 and seeks to expand to also serve middle grades. Both schools had previously requested funding to renovate their current facilities or expand to new locations.
Under the proposal, both projects would unite in a new custom-built facility that allows the schools to share resources – expanding educational opportunities while being more cost-effective for taxpayers. If the proposal is successful, the new school could open in the fall of 2017. One potential location for the building is a parcel near Kneeland Street and South Station currently held by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Boston School Committee Chair Michael O’Neill praised today’s decision. “We have taken many steps as a District to expand access to excellence for students across the city, and this allows us to explore a solution that would offer world-class facilities to students attending two world-class schools,” he said.
“Students in the Quincy Upper deserve a school that is built around rigor and academic excellence and students in Boston Arts Academy deserve a building that is designed specifically to support creative thinking -- and this proposal would create both,” said BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough. “We look forward to working closely with the MSBA and our other partners to make it a reality.”
“Our students have excelled for a long time in a building that wasn’t designed to be a high school,” said Quincy Upper School co-headmaster Richard Chang. “This opportunity is a welcome one and we are tremendously grateful for all the support our school has received.”
“People come from around the world to watch our successful arts education model in action,” said Boston Arts Academy headmaster Anne Clark. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create a home that matches the enormous potential of our students.”
Next, BPS and the City of Boston will work with the Quincy Upper School and Boston Arts Academy communities to develop a schematic design proposal for the combined project. As the process moves forward it will require additional requests for approval from the Boston School Committee, the MSBA and the City of Boston, as well as land agreements.
Boston Arts Academy currently shares a space with Fenway High School at 174 Ipswich Street, across from Fenway Park, a former post office warehouse building that lacks performance space.
- Fenway High School will move to a new location at 67 Alleghany Street in Mission Hill in the fall of 2015 as part of a planned $12 million total renovation and school expansion.
- BPS had applied to the MSBA for funding to completely renovate the current Boston Arts Academy building, which would begin after Fenway High School moves to its new location.
- The proposal being explored by the MSBA as a result of today’s vote would allow Boston Arts Academy to move to a new facility designed around the arts in the fall of 2017. Fenway High School would continue its planned move to the upgraded Alleghany Street location in the fall of 2015. BPS could then use the Ipswich Street facility for another purpose or the City could explore a sale of the property to help fund other school facility upgrades.
Quincy Upper School is located at 900 Washington Street and serves grades 6-12.
- The Upper School offers International Baccalaureate programs, which is an academically rigorous curriculum that is available only in select schools around the world.
- The school operates in both a temporary modular classroom building and in the former Abraham Lincoln Elementary School building with an annex. The school does not currently have a full gym, auditorium, library or sufficient science labs.
- Although it is a highly successful school, its enrollment is capped due to space constraints.