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The following press release from the City of Boston details terms of today’s $11.35 million agreement of a building and cash swap, including the city owned 150 North St. and 130-140 Richmond St., in exchange for four buildings owned by the North Bennet Street School. The swap will allow for a substantial expansion of the Eliot School, located around the corner from the NBSS properties. For NBSS, the swap allows the non-profit trade school to expand its programs within the North End. NBSS has also agreed to participate in the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program annually in the form of educational scholarship to their school.

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Mayor Menino Announces Long Anticipated Deal for North Street Property
Plan Includes Growth at Successful North End School

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, in a letter today, informed families of the popular John Eliot K-8 School that the City has acquired nearby North Bennet Street School buildings, allowing for expansion of the Eliot in the coming years.

“The Eliot K-8 is a true gem, which is attracting young families to Boston,” said Mayor Menino. “Parents have urged us to expand this small, successful school. Expanding the program helps us deliver on our promise to provide quality educational choices in every part of Boston and connect schools with the communities they support.”

The four buildings — 37-39 North Bennet St. and 48-52 Tileston St. in the North End — are just one tenth of a mile from the Eliot K-8 School. The properties will be renovated by the city and will open in the next few years.

This year-and-a-half process, which culminated today with a vote by the city’s Public Facilities Commission, accepts an offer valued at $11,350,000. The city will receive cash and Four buildings in the transaction. The North Bennet Street School will, in turn, receive 150 North St. and 130-140 Richmond St. As part of the RFP process The North Bennet Street School has agreed to participate in the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program annually in the form of educational scholarship to their school.

“We are thrilled that Mayor Menino has found a solution to the need for additional capacity at the Eliot K-8 School,” said Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “Our talented teachers and school leader have turned this school into a place of excellence, and this decision will allow us to open the doors for hundreds more students.”

Led by Traci Walker-Griffith, the John Eliot K-8 is one of the city’s most popular schools, with 322 students enrolled and 295 on its waiting list. Just five years ago, when Walker-Griffith became the new principal at the Eliot, many classes were half-empty. At the time the Eliot was a struggling Commonwealth Priority School – identified as low-performing. For the last two years, the Eliot has been a statewide Commendation School – meaning it is closing achievement gaps and is one of the strongest schools in Massachusetts.

Adding the North Bennet Street buildings as a second campus will allow Boston Public Schools to add additional seats once renovations are complete. Mayor Menino will join Superintendent Johnson, Walker-Griffith and Eliot families on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. to discuss expansion plans.

The four buildings will be turned over to the Property and Construction Management Department as they are transitioned and undergo renovations.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. It is fitting that they be a “swap” by the City of Boston and the Boston School Committee to acquire the building of the North Bennet Street School, a historical landmark in the North End since 1881 for the pupils at the Eliot School. The swap is that the old institution on North Bennet Street will move into the unoccupied Boston Printing plant on the corner of North and Richmond Streets. It will be of benefit to the over enrollment in the Eliot School and will allow the North Bennet Street School to continue their vocational work in a facility more appropriate for their type of training and bring students who are attending their carpentry program elsewhere back to the North End.

    Since its founding the North Bennet Street Industrial School, as it was earlier called, has always been interested in better education and social improvement in the North End. At a time when education was geared towards the academics alone many children became disinterested and quit school early. To make education more meaningful they introduced vocational education along with the academics. This made school studies more pracactical. Its reserch and experimentation in vocational education with the Boston Public School system was eventually adopted in all major public schoool systems through out the United States.

    In September, 1907 a cllass of fifty girls were received from the Hancock School located on Parmenter Street (the site of the North End Branch Library) for ten hours of industrial training per week. It kept the girls in school for a longer period after their fourteenth birthday. It made them think intelligently of their future work. In September of 1909, a class of twenty-one boys from fifth to eight grades was recived from the Eliot School for instruction in a modified grammar school course including both academics and industrial work. These boys had intention of leaving school as soon as they were able to receive working papers.

    The present arrangementis dejavou all over again. It is fitting that the administration of both schools and the City of Boston approved this “swap” which will benefit the children and the community. The Eliot School children will occupy the building which had done so much educational experimentation in the past, and the North Bennet Street School will tran its students in a facility more adaptable to vocational training. ..

    A well done “swap”

  2. Great news for the city ! This illustrates what hard work and determination can achieve. As a life long member of the “North End” I am proud of the work of our “Public Service” citizens.

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