What are the benefits of building a new John D. O’Bryant campus at the West Roxbury Education Complex (WREC)?
Renovating and expanding the WREC creates a unique opportunity to build a state-of-the-art STEM campus specifically designed to meet the needs of the O’Bryant School. The O’Bryant’s current facility is unable to offer the world-class science labs, engineering labs, or maker spaces that the O’Bryant’s rigorous and comprehensive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum requires. By drawing on the best examples of STEM high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation, the design process for a new facility will lead to learning and community spaces that better support the O’Bryant’s specialized pathway programs in engineering, computer science, and biomedical science. This is also an opportunity to consider new STEM programming, such as an Environmental Science pathway.
Rebuilding the WREC gives the O’Bryant the opportunity to grow its student body, from about 1,600 to 2,000 students. This will allow the 7th and 8th grade to expand to match the size of grades 9-12.
The WREC is adjacent to some of the best athletic facilities in Boston, including a football field, baseball and softball fields, a multi-use field, a 6-lane running track with spectator stands, basketball courts, tennis courts, and full-size swimming pool. The new facility would better support the O’Bryant’s strong athletics culture.
The new facility will be entirely fossil-fuel-free, in accordance with Mayor Wu’s recent executive order banning fossil fuels in new or renovated City-owned buildings.
Why can’t the O’Bryant continue to share a campus with Madison Park?
Both the O’Bryant and Madison Park are currently constrained for space on the Malcolm X Boulevard campus. For Madison Park to expand and evolve to become a nation-leading technical-vocational school, including by adding 7th and 8th grade and new Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways, it is not sustainable for both schools to remain located together on the same site.
The high schools vision laid out by Mayor Wu and the Superintendent Skipper in June 2023 includes a commitment to building a new facility for both schools, each one designed to support each school’s unique program. The programmatic needs of a technical-vocational school like Madison Park make it especially important for the school to be located nearby union and industry partners in Boston in order for students to complete their every-other-week of vocational training.
How will current partnerships be maintained and how will new partnerships add to the new campus student experience?
As the premier STEM high school in Massachusetts, the O’Bryant will continue to attract sustained interest from partners in higher education and the private and public sectors, including dual enrollment opportunities for O’Bryant students. City and BPS leadership will support the O’Bryant School in sustaining existing partnerships (Dana Farber, Vertex, BU School of Medicine, One 8 Foundation, Squash Busters, Analog Devices, Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Wentworth Institute of Technology, MIT Lincoln Laboratories) while also building new ones close to the new campus, such as with the VA Hospital. Conversations have already started with major Boston-based STEM employers about the potential for close partnership to support the O’Bryant curriculum and career pathways.
How will the current diversity and culture of the O’Bryant community be preserved with a campus move? What will be done to make students feel welcomed in West Roxbury?
The diversity and inclusivity of the O’Bryant is consistently raised as one of the school’s greatest strengths. Students see themselves reflected in their teachers, and they have opportunities to celebrate the culture and heritage of their families and their peers through cultural clubs and affinity groups. These will continue to be cherished parts of the O’Bryant student culture. The new campus would also allow the O’Bryant to grow its student body, enabling even more students to benefit from the O’Bryant’s affirming, rigorous, and inclusive culture.
The new exam school admissions policy, updated in 2021, ensures that the O’Bryant student body will remain diverse. The policy ensures that an equal number of seats at the O’Bryant are offered to each socioeconomic tier of Boston. This policy would protect the O’Bryant from any major changes to its student body demographics after any proposed relocation. We commit to monitoring the data closely to ensure the policy is working as expected.
With support from the Office of Neighborhood Services and other City departments, we are also committed to intentionally building relationships with the West Roxbury community so that O’Bryant students are welcomed to the new campus.