The Boston Architectural College (BAC)’s Gateway Program, which gives architecture students a chance to get real-life experience working on projects out in the community, has been conducting a study of the potential future usage for the Nazzaro Center building.
Following an update provided by the BAC last year, Architect Killion Mokwete and students now in their second semester of studies presented the second phase of their findings at a recent public meeting.
Mokwete was joined in delivering top-level remarks to the crowd by Kirsten Hoffman, North End resident and a member of the Save the Nazzaro Center Coalition. “It is important for us to clarify, first, what this work is not,” Mokwete began, citing that the whole construction and implementation of building updates is contingent upon robust community engagement.
The BAC study is independent of the City’s process for the new North End community center and the reuse of the Nazzaro building. Results will be submitted to the City as suggestions, and so it is important that the BAC study include North End community input.
“In focusing on the different ideas and expectations of the stakeholders we engaged with, it must be stated that what we’re about to present to you is not a final recommendation. It is expressive of a collection of conversations with North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), the ABCD Service Center, the Eliot School, and the North End Waterfront Health Center,” said Mokwete.
BAC students then presented their finding, which included the need to further realize the logistical needs regarding accessibility, and making the best and most feasible decisions based on community engagement, as well as what the four stakeholders had in mind with their input.
Each of the four stakeholders have distinct visions for what the property should encompass. NEMPAC is seeking music and performing arts space, while ABCD is looking to not only continue its role in providing meals to seniors, but also access to resources and socialization. After-school activities that may present potential cross-collaboration opportunities are part of the Eliot School’s ask, while the health center is primarily focused on opening a wellness center featuring a variety of services from acupuncture to nutritional workshops.
Commentary from those in attendance focused on feasibility, execution, and what the long-term impacts would be for the neighborhood. The location of bathrooms, the partitioning of walls, even potentially beginning community gardening was discussed. Once the BAC study is finalized, Save the Nazzaro Center Coalition will share the report with the public in its entirety.