City and Boston Public School officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday to kick off the $20 million renovation of the John Eliot K-8 Innovation Upper School building at 585 Commercial Street in Boston’s North End. Boston acquired the three-story building in 2013 to accommodate the expansion of the Eliot School, whose population has grown from 200 to more than 550 students over the past decade.
When completed by the fall of 2019, the building will feature state-of-the-art spaces designed to promote collaborative learning, as well as an art studio and robotics-engineering lab overlooking the Charles River. The Eliot Upper School, which serves 280 students in grades 3-8, is located in the former high-end furniture store, Roche Boibois, and office building at 585 Commercial Street in the North End.
The two-year construction project – the final phase of an overall $43 million project to two Eliot school buildings – will begin in early July. Starting in September, the Eliot Upper School’s students will be relocated to the newly renovated, former North Bennet Street School. The City invested $23 million in a comprehensive renovation that includes new classrooms, computer labs, a multi-purpose room, and media center all designed for 21st century learning. In addition, the project included construction of a new cafeteria, kitchen, mechanical systems, elevator, fire protection, and accessibility upgrades.
Officials were joined by 40 fifth-grade students, who performed the song “Hope,” a piece the students composed. Attending were Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Michael O’Neill, Chairperson, Boston School Committee, Dr. Tommy Chang, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools, Patrick Brophy, Chief of Operations, Patricia Lyons, Director, Public Facilities Department, Traci Walker Griffith, Principal, John Eliot K-8 Innovation School, elected officials Councilor Sal LaMattina, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz along with community members, parents, teachers, and staff of the Eliot School.