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Mayor Walsh, joined by local elected officials and community leaders break ground marking the $20 million renovation of the John Eliot K-8 Innovation Upper School in the North End. (Mayor’s Office Photo by Jeremiah Robinson)

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.

Rendering for new Eliot Upper School at 585 Commercial Street (City of Boston)

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.

Rendering of Eliot School after renovation at 585 Commercial Street (City of Boston)

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.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful tribute if the city renamed the school after Mayor Menino? He’s the one who gave this great gift to the North End.

    • I would imagine the parking lot remains first and foremost for school officials. Construction vehicles during the day during the project, followed by school teachers once it’s open. Perhaps evening resident parking I guess.

      • thanks. i thought i heard some time back that it being resident parking during off hours (like the lower school) was imminent.

  2. Is it just me, or does anyone else question why a school serving 3rd to 8th graders needs a Robotics Engineering Lab? Seems a *tad* advanced for that age demographic to me. One wonders what it’s real purpose will be, and who exactly will be using it, and for what?

    • Technology and learning to code is something of a trend in the job field these days that is only going to grow. I see countless jobs being lost in the market place to technology innovation. In my opinion not offering the kids the chance to learn these skills at a young age would be a missed opportunity.

    • It is great these kids are being exposed to a lot of science and technology, including robotic engineering. Hopefully they find the passion for STEM as it is an excellent career path.

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