BOSTON — Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a 10-year, $1 billion investment in the buildings and classrooms of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in his annual State of the City address on Jan. 18.
Mayor Walsh wrote that Boston’s schools are “out of date” in an op-ed for The Boston Globe, published on the same day as the announcement. As they stand currently, 65 percent of Boston’s 127 schools were built before World War II, and fewer than half of those have been fully renovated.
Using community input and hard data gathered by the state, officials put together a 10-year BuildBPS facilities master plan. Mayor Walsh wrote that the vision includes:
- Beautiful, innovative new buildings and renovations.
- Livable, nurturing environments with fresh air, sunlight, clean water, comfortable climates, healthy and delicious food, and increased accessibility.
- 21st century classrooms, with the furnishings and technology of modern learning, and great academic instruction with hands-on application of high-value skills geared to the careers of tomorrow.
- Partnerships with Boston’s universities, hospitals, businesses and cultural institutions to move learning beyond school walls.
- Energy efficiency programs that will unlock savings for classrooms and provide environmental benefits.
- A simpler set of grade configurations that allows for fewer student transitions and stronger school communities.
- And school sites, programs and services better matched to where students live for family convenience, transportation savings and stronger community connections.
Mayor Walsh also wrote that funding for BuildBPS would be based around a strong partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), an agency that co-funds public school capital projects in the state. Even though the city of Boston was slow to take advantage of MSBA’s help since its inception in 2004, the city finally started partnering with the organization in recent years. Boston’s Dearborn 6-12 STEM Academy, for instance, will complete construction this year, while construction on Boston Arts Academy and the Josiah Quincy Upper School is also underway — all with the help of MSBA.