The grand opening celebration of the Eliot Upper School took place at 585 Commercial Street on Saturday in Boston’s North End, with a large gathering of students, teachers, community members, and elected officials.
The Upper School on Commercial Street started serving nearly 250 students in September 2019. With its completion, the Eliot campus now serves 730 students evenly distributed among the three school buildings. “The opening of the new Upper School is a true testament to our community’s and the City of Boston’s belief in public education and commitment to the Eliot School’s expansion,” said Principal Traci Walker Griffith.
Remarks praising the completion of the Upper School were made by State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards. The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured a speaking program along with a performance by Eliot students. Additional activities included face painting, a photo booth, live art installation, bouncy houses, four square games, a dunk tank, and student-guided tours.
Construction for the Upper School, a two year $15 million renovation project, began in 2017 and opened this year on September 5th. Designed by the Boston-based firm Finegold Alexander Architects, there are 18 classrooms and the facility features a number of technological and sustainability-focused features including a new reflective roof, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and a stormwater retention system. Multi-purpose spaces within the school can also serve as potential venues for community meetings and are located on the first floor alongside media, arts, and tech-robotics.
“I am thrilled to celebrate the opening of a new Eliot School building,” said Mayor Walsh. “This school is a big part of the North End’s history, and will remain the heart and soul of this community for decades to come. Thank you to all our partners who made this possible, I look forward to all our students, teachers, families and the entire BPS community enjoying this beautiful building.”
“Every student deserves access to a 21st century education and Boston Public Schools is committed to providing all of our youth with safe, joyful and innovative learning environments,” remarked BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “This is an exciting time for the Eliot School, and demonstrates the immense value and strength of coordinated community engagement and collaboration for the benefit of our children.”
The new campus is located on the Harborwalk, providing rear access to the building, and is located a short distance from several public parks, ball fields and nearby North Station. The two other Eliot School campuses are within walking distance, with students able to travel frequently from one building to the others throughout the course of the day. Healthy food options in the cafeteria are also being provided through the My Way Cafe school meals program.
The Eliot School is the oldest continuously-run school in the United States and has been located in the North End for its entire history. The school opened as the North Writing School in 1713. Now consisting of three facilities, The Lower School, located at 16 Charter Street, serves pre-K, Kindergarten and first-grade students; the Intermediate School at 173 Salem Street serves students in grades 2-4, and the Upper School serves students in grades 5-8.