Menino announces plans for downtown school
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced Friday plans to create a school in downtown Boston.
Menino said the city of Boston intends to use 585 Commercial Street as a site for a downtown school, expected to open in September 2016. Design for the school will begin this fall, with construction beginning in June 2015.
“It’s a great day for our downtown families who have been very patient as we’ve worked to find a solution that would allow their children to attend a Boston Public School close to home,” Mayor Menino said. “Today’s announcement marks another step forward as we work to improve our entire Boston Public Schools system, where more parents are choosing to send their children every year.”
The city’s plan is to use the facility on Commercial Street as a swing space for the Eliot K-8 School over the next two years. Upon completion of the school, it will accommodate more than 500 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.
The Boston City Council must vote to approve funding from surplus property to acquire property. The proposal will be submitted to the Council on Monday, along with a request for an expedient hearing. The new school will also require approval from the Boston School Committee.
Boston Public Schools released new figures which indicate more families are choosing the public school system in the city, with an eight percent increase in students requesting kindergarten seats for fall 2013.
“When I first became mayor people were fleeing the city. You couldn’t fill the classrooms up. You couldn’t find teachers. This past year we had 300 openings and over 3,500 applicants for those jobs,” said Menino.
Parents who live downtown welcome the news.
“This is a gorgeous building. We’re really, really fortunate to have it as a school. The fact that we have a new school in Boston is going to be remarkable,” said Jennifer McGivern, a parent.
Menino joked about turning Mitt Romney’s old building into a public school, calling it ironic.
“Sidebar -- Mitt Romney’s headquarters,” said Menino. “His headquarters was here. We’re making this a public school funded by public money.”
Menino said he is confident the Boston City Council will approve the $13 million necessary to buy the building and turn it into a school.