Bitter Cold in the Forecast
/
Mayor Wu declared a cold emergency in Boston from Friday, February 3, through Sunday, February 5, due to the extreme cold weather in the forecast. BCYF locations will be activated as warming centers on Friday and Saturday during their normal hours.
Last updated:

A Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools

We're reimagining our schools as full-service community hubs and engines of climate resilience.

Every student in Boston deserves to learn in a space that is safe, healthy, resilient, and inspiring. Yet many of our school buildings lack the basic infrastructure they need—comprehensive heating, cooling, and ventilation systems; clean and functional bathrooms; safe drinking  water; libraries or science labs—let alone the technology and resources for a world-class education. We need a large-scale shift in how we manage our Boston Public Schools facilities. To deliver on a quality guarantee, build healthy and nurturing physical environments, and align with our broader civic goals of equity, opportunity, and engagement we need a Green New Deal for BPS.

This is a vision to leverage Boston residents’ expertise, creativity and passion to reimagine our schools as full-service community hubs that can adapt to meet the evolving needs of our students and our City. It’s a commitment to safeguarding the climate resilience of our school buildings, which make up nearly half of City-owned building emissions. And it’s a pledge to listen to our communities—BPS students and families— who have been calling for change for decades.

We need your help to elevate the shared vision and expertise of students, families, educators, and community partners and develop the long-term facilities action plan. Please join an upcoming listening session!

Watch: A Green New Deal for BPS

DEVELOPING A LONG-TERM FACILITIES ACTION PLAN

We are committed to changing the way we manage and plan for BPS facilities and developing a long-term facilities action plan by the end of 2023. Here’s how we’ll get there:

  • We’re using the Racial Equity Planning Tool (REPT), created by BPS in 2017 to analyze how District policies and proposals impact students and communities with the greatest needs. The REPT requires authentic and ongoing engagement of BPS’ diverse stakeholders to empower all members of our school communities. 
  • We created the Building Dashboard, a dataset built internally that integrates data from the SY22 Opportunity Index and information on each school building’s capital assets and environmental conditions. This dashboard is continually updated by the BPS Facilities team, and has been used to help prioritize current capital investments.
  • We contracted with Bureau Veritas Technical Assessments to complete a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA), a large, detailed dataset of building conditions and set of recommendations for repair, replacement, and renovation. The FCA will be integrated into BPS’ Asset Essentials management system, which tracks all work orders and capital projects, to maintain real-time data on the state of our buildings, offer more transparency for community members, and inform future decisions around capital investment priorities. 
  • We contracted with DLR Group, Inc., Jonathan Levi Architects, and St. Fleur Communications to complete a School Design Study, a set of programming and design recommendations for PreK-6 and 7-12 schools to guide future renovations and construction, based on authentic engagement with Boston community members. These design standards will reduce the time and expenses required for future school construction and renovation projects, accelerating progress toward our district-wide facilities goals.

    While we continue along the path toward a long-term facilities action plan, we have made immediate investments to launch major capital projects that touch more than 20 school communities and continue district-wide initiatives to advance environmental justice and educational opportunity. The selection of new projects was informed by the Building Dashboard and are designed to create predictable PreK-6 and 7-12 pathways and deliver a quality guarantee for every student, in every neighborhood of Boston.

    List of projects

    projects

    We are committed to moving forward with plans to build out high-quality space on the Columbia Point campus that meets the programming needs of the full Boston Community Leadership Academy-McCormack community. Phase 1 of these renovations included a $3 million investment to construct two new science labs and a life skills room, and were completed in the Fall of 2022. We plan to come back to the school community with updated options for Phase 2 of building renovations.

    Learn more

    We are committed to renovating facilities at the Blackstone School, including improving building systems, interior and exterior spaces, and supporting the sustainability of the 6th grade, which was added in 2022. The Blackstone was not invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority's Core program in 2022. The City and BPS are currently exploring financial options to continue to pursue this project in FY24.

    LEARN MORE

    In the Fall of 2022, we celebrated the opening of the new Boston Arts Academy, a $137 million project supported by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The new 5-story building features a 500-seat auditorium and theater space, a black box theater, four new dance studios, visual arts studios, a recording studio, choral room, a 150-seat recital hall, 10 practice rooms, and classrooms and science labs. A roof terrace is designed for use as an outdoor classroom and performance space. The project also modified the existing streetscape by widening sidewalks and shortening crosswalks to create a safer path of travel around the building, while adding trees and street furniture to create a more welcoming environment for students and visitors. The building design is highly energy-efficient, exceeding LEED silver requirements.

    LEARN MORE

    In June 2022, we celebrated the groundbreaking on the new Carter School, a $92 million investment supported by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Construction is estimated to be complete before the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. The new facility will include a therapeutic pool, sensory garden, rooftop classroom, and better space designed specifically for students with disabilities and complex learning needs. The upgraded facility will expand the Carter School’s enrollment capacity from 25 to 60 and allow for new early childhood programs.

    LEARN MORE

    The Cleveland Building is currently occupied by the Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) community. BPS will engage with CASH and District leadership to evaluate potential uses of the unused space in the building. We’ll also dedicate capital funds to renovate the site, including $2.15 million to repair the roof and the building exterior which is targeted to be complete in the fall of 2023.

    LEARN MORE

    In May 2022, we recommitted to building a new elementary school in Dorchester/Mattapan. No school site has yet been identified yet, but the ongoing Facilities Condition Assessment and School Design Study will accelerate site selection by providing several massing and siting options, looking at existing City-owned property in Dorchester and Mattapan as well as potential acquisitions, as well as a programming and design vision for the new school. BPS will engage several Dorchester and Mattapan school communities – including but not limited to the Shaw, the Taylor, the Greenwood, Lee Academy, the Kenny, and the Holmes – to determine which schools will ultimately merge into a new Dorchester/Mattapan elementary school.

    LEARN MORE

    While we continue with a $31.2 million renovation to the Edwards building in Charlestown to provide a temporary home for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HMS) community, we have also dedicated $150,000 in FY23 for a siting study to evaluate locations for the permanent site of the HMS community—including the current Jackson-Mann site, other school sites in Allston/Brighton, and other sites throughout Boston. Once an appropriate site is identified, we’ll dedicate City dollars to creating a new state-of-the-art building for the HMS community.

    LEARN MORE

    The Irving Middle School closed at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, and BPS previously announced that it would be reconfigured as a PreK-6 school. We dedicated capital funds in FY23 to renovate the building and facilitate a reconfiguration to an elementary school. We have proposed that the Sumner and Philbrick schools move into the renovated building as a newly combined school, and are working with the school communities to finalize the proposal before bringing it to the Boston School Committee for a vote in the Spring of 2023.

    LEARN MORE

    The Jackson-Mann K-8 school closed in June 2022, and BPS has previously committed to constructing a new school on this site. In FY23, we have dedicated $150,000 for a study to develop a building program for the design and construction of a new PreK-6 school on this site alongside the Jackson/Mann BCYF Community Center and potentially the Horace Mann School. Beginning SY23-24, BPS will engage several Allston-Brighton school communities – including but not limited to the Lyon, the Winship, the Gardner, the Edison, and the Baldwin – to determine which schools will ultimately merge into a renovated elementary school on the Jackson-Mann Campus.

    LEARN MORE

    In December 2022, we celebrated the raising of the last steel beam at the new Josiah Quincy Upper School facility. This was a significant milestone in this construction project, a $193 million facility supported by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The new 6-story facility will accommodate 650 students, and will include a rooftop outdoor classroom and activity complex, a media center, athletic and fitness areas, a black box theater, auditorium, cafeteria, and other learning and administrative spaces. The design includes a fresh air make-up system and enhanced filtration to mitigate air pollution from vehicle traffic on nearby highways. Construction is expected to be complete before the 2024-25 school year.

    LEARN MORE

    The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 School serves more than 500 students, but at nearly 90 years old, its building is in urgent need of repair, with several maintenance areas categorized as a high priority. The District-wide Facilities Condition Assessment, which will be complete in the Summer of 2023, will determine the best path forward to upgrade the building, and we will commit City funds in FY24 to transform the King to better serve its school community.

    LEARN MORE

    The Melvin H. King South End Academy stretches across three buildings, all of which are some of the highest-needs school buildings in Boston. The school serves some of Boston’s most marginalized students — young people between the ages of 5 and 22 — with a focus on emotional, behavioral, and learning needs and intensive clinical supports. The FY23 Capital budget includes $175,000 for a programming study to determine requirements for all three McKinley School sites to effectively serve their communities, and we’ll commit City funds to rebuild the schools. We are currently working to engage a design team, and plan to have a team in place by early 2023. 

    LEARN MORE

    We are committed to building an annex for the Otis School on the Paris Street lot, which BPS acquired in 2019. This expansion would grow the Otis’ enrollment capacity and support the sustainability of the 6th grade, which was added in 2020. The Otis School was not invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority's Core program in 2022. The City and BPS are currently exploring financial options to continue to pursue this project in FY24.

    LEARN MORE

    In May 2022, we proposed combining the Philbrick and Sumner schools to facilitate building upgrades and combine resources to reinvest in schools, expand enrichment opportunities, and produce stronger student outcomes. In November 2022, we proposed that the combined Philbrick-Sumner community move into the renovated Irving building in Roslindale. We are working with both school communities and District leadership to finalize a merger proposal before bringing it to the Boston School Committee in the Spring of 2023.

    LEARN MORE

    Earlier facilities work to replace the boilers at the PJ Kennedy School prompted further work needed for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To ensure ADA compliance, we have dedicated more than $16 million in FY23 for a large-scale renovation, including a new entranceway, playground, trees and plantings, school garden, fencing, lighting and security cameras, as well as new and renovated interior spaces. Construction will begin in the Summer of 2023.

    LEARN MORE

    In May 2022, we recommitted to building a new elementary school in Roxbury. No school site has yet been identified yet, but the ongoing Facilities Condition Assessment and School Design Study will accelerate site selection by providing several massing and siting options, looking at existing City-owned property in Roxbury as well as potential acquisitions, as well as a programming and design vision for the new school. BPS will engage several Roxbury school communities – including but not limited to the Ellis, the Higginson/Lewis, the Higginson Elementary, the Hale, the Mendell, the Winthrop, and the Mason – to determine which schools will ultimately merge into a new Roxbury elementary school.

    LEARN MORE

    In May 2022, we proposed combining the Shaw and Taylor schools to facilitate building upgrades and combine resources to reinvest in schools, expand enrichment opportunities, and produce stronger student outcomes. Combining these two schools would also create a continuous preK-6 pathway for Shaw and Taylor students across two campuses. We are working with both school communities and District leadership to finalize a merger proposal before bringing it to the Boston School Committee in the Spring of 2023.

    LEARN MORE

    The FY23 budget includes $150,000 for a needs assessment to rebuild the West Roxbury Educational Complex (WREC) as a comprehensive 7-12 high school that serves a student population from across the City. The WREC closed in June 2019 due to major roof, masonry, and windows issues and significant deferred maintenance. As we start rebuilding, we’ll engage school communities across Boston to determine what school(s) will move into the WREC building.

    LEARN MORE

    Located in the Playstead section of Franklin Park, the historic White Stadium is used for BPS track, football, and other athletic and community events. We’re investing $500,000 for an assessment of the facility, including the east and west stands, the playing field, and the track, to develop preliminary designs and cost estimates, building on a previous 2013 study. BPS and the Parks Department will work together to ensure the facility meets BPS Athletics’ standards and needs.

    LEARN MORE

    DISTRICT-WIDE INITIATIVES

    While we launch new large-scale capital projects, the City is continuing to invest in initiatives across BPS to improve the safety, quality, and environmental sustainability of facilities. These projects include improvements to energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, installation of air conditioners, cafeteria upgrades, school yard and exterior grounds improvements, bathroom renovations, installation of radiator covers, entryway improvements, drinking water access, and more.

    LEARN MORE

    BPS Green New Deal Map

    We have a map of capital projects, districtwide initiatives, and past major capital projects from FY14-22.

    View the map

    Additional Resources

    On May 18, we held a public informational session where City and BPS officials shared more about the Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools and answered many of your questions.

    Watch the Session

    Back to top