- An elevation of the new building on North Street by the architecture firm Kennedy Violich Architects.
On February 14, 2012 the Board of Directors made one of the most significant decisions in North Bennet Street School’s 131 year history—to sell the school’s historic home at 39 North Bennet Street to the City of Boston and to purchase a larger facility from the city. The new site is the former Area A police station and the city printing plant on North Street, five blocks from the current location.
The availability of two adjacent buildings with a total of 60,000 square feet of industrial space in Boston’s North End is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the expanded facility North Bennet Street School has long needed, while retaining its historic ties to the North End neighborhood. The facility will provide code-compliant and energy-efficient spaces for the school’s training programs, the ability to expand public programs, and increased visibility in the city. For the first time in decades, the school will have space for the entire school to gather, enhancing the educational experience for students and strengthening the school’s sense of community.
The possibility of relocating North Bennet Street School to the city-owned buildings was explored over a period of several years, culminating in a proposal from the North End community to use the existing NBSS facility to ease overcrowding at the nearby John Eliot K-8 School. With strong support from the North End neighborhood and Eliot School parents, formal feasibility studies and pre-capital campaign planning were completed in December 2011.
To complete the design phase and renovation of the North Street buildings, the school has embarked upon a $15 million capital campaign. Learn more about the campaign.
On May 14, 2012, the City of Boston formally approved the sale of the properties at 152-174 North Street to North Bennet Street School for $11,350,000, including the $6,710,000 appraised value of the existing NBSS facility and a cash payment of $4,640,000. The cash payment will be used by the City to offset the costs of renovating 39 North Bennet Street for the expansion of the Eliot School, a process that will start in September, 2013.
To complete the design phase and renovation of the North Street buildings, the school has embarked upon a $15 million capital campaign. In order to accommodate the City’s very tight schedule, NBSS must complete construction of the new school and move out of its current facility by August, 2013. This extremely ambitious schedule adds an additional sense of urgency to the fundraising efforts.
How will it happen?
Designing, constructing and moving the school is a complex process and it is critical that the school operates fully during the transition. The process began with moving bookbinding and violin making and repair to temporary spaces in the former police station on North Street in September so that the Eliot School expansion into 39 North Bennet Street could begin. Final design and permitting for the new NBSS will be completed this fall and construction on the printing plant will begin in December. Moving the violin and bookbinding programs from their temporary locations and renovating the police station building are scheduled for next summer. It’s an ambitious schedule that involves dozens of consultants, contractors, suppliers and, most importantly, the participation of faculty members, staff members and students, and the generous support of donors.
To follow the progress of the new building, read and subscribe to the blog ‘Under one roof’. In addition to updates on the work being done, the blog includes information on the history of the site and photographs from the original construction of the building. Find it on the NBSS website under ‘Latest News’.
Help NBSS meet the challenge
Contribute to the capital campaign and help the school reach its goal to reunite the eight programs ‘under one roof’. Contact the director of development Karen Solomon; by email or call 617-227-0155 for details.