Approximately 65% of Boston Public School’s 127 school buildings were constructed before World War II and less than half of those schools have been fully renovated. “In that time, we built an elevated expressway, tore it down, and buried it in the tunnel downtown,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed on Jan. 18, the same day he announced a 10-year, $1 billion investment in BPS facilities during his annual state of the city address.
The educational and facilities master plan called Build BPS began a year ago when the district started gathering community input and data on its current facilities. Walsh said the new and renovated buildings will include “twenty-first-century classrooms with the furnishings and technology of modern learning” as well as better lighting, ventilation, climate control, energy efficiency and accessibility.
In 2015, BPS moved its headquarters to the $100-million Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Dudley Square. A few blocks away, Gilbane Building Co. and partner Janey Construction Management are building the district’s first new school in more than a decade. The $73-million Dearborn STEM Academy is slated to finish construction this year. The science/technology/engineering and mathematics (STEM) school will include flexible spaces for collaboration, open spaces designed for project-based learning and a learning commons when it opens for the 2018-19 school year.
The Dearborn Academy was procured with the CM at risk /GMP delivery method, according to Gilbane’s website. The state allows public authorities to use CM at risk and design build delivery methods on projects that are $5 million or more.
BPS is also seeking approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority for two other school building projects along with “$21 million in repairs and updates,” Walsh wrote in the Globe op-ed.
Walsh said the district will release more information about BuildBPS in the coming weeks and will also launch a community engagement process. In his state of the city address, Walsh said, “Boston is entering a new era of school investment.”