West Roxbury Education Complex in such bad shape ISD wanted to condemn it in July, school officials say

Boston school officials said last night that the West Roxbury Education Complex building almost didn't open for classes last month - and that emergency repairs done on it so it could pass inspection will only hold out for the rest of the school year.

Faced with the possibility of a mold-infested building with a leaky roof and potentially collapsing capstones that could fall on people entering or leaving the building, officials say they had little choice but to order the building shut at the end of the current school year - and to make the building's razing and replacement one of the first of 12 major rebuilding and new school projects over the next ten years.

The West Roxbury Academy and the Urban Science Academy that now occupy the building would be dissolved, their students offered seats in other schools across the city.

Officials discussed the details of what's wrong with the building only after most people who attended a School Committee meeting to oppose the plan had already left. The meeting, which started shortly after 6 p.m., and ran past midnight, also included discussions of and protests over plans to shut the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester for renovation into a 7-12 high school, as some of the first steps in the 10-year, $1-billion BuildBPS program to create 12 new schools - mostly through extensive rehabilitation of existing BPS buildings.

Officials emphasized that both the West Roxbury and McCormack proposals have yet to be set in stone - although they added they have little choice when it comes to West Roxbury because decades of deferred maintenance have left the building with just a few months left of life, at least as a building safe for occupancy.

Interim School Superintendent Laura Perille said BPS will hold community meetings across the city on the proposals - and the rest of the BuildBPS plan - before the School Committee holds a vote in December.

Students, parents and teachers at the three schools who filled the School Committee chambers at the beginning of yesterday's meeting said they were angry the news was sprung on them and upset that the plans call for the dissolution of the communities they have built up. Parents of students in an autism program at West Roxbury said they were particularly hurt by the news because it's one that actually works for their kids.

West Roxbury students said they did not understand why BPS could not move the school programs to other buildings in the BPS system, as had been done for kids at the Dearborn STEM school in Roxbury.

School Committee members Miren Uriarte and Jeri Robinson were not thrilled, either. "What if a tornado hit Boston Latin School?" Uriarte asked. The idea that BPS would not move mountains to keep that school's students and teachers together would be absurd, she said.

Long after the students, teachers and parents left, Perille said that officials are hopeful they can move the autism and other special-education programs to other schools intact - although not necessarily all to the same building. Perille added she hopes to move the programs' teachers with the students, but said that would require discussions with the teachers' union.

She said other students at the schools will get individualized help in figuring out which schools to go to - along with priority in the lottery for seats at them. Students would even get special help to apply for possible seats at exam schools, she said. She added officials also plan extra help for rising seniors on such things as college recommendations after they move to new schools.

BPS COO John Hanlon said officials tried to find space for the West Roxbury students and their teachers, but couldn't find any large enough for just one of the schools, let alone both. The abandoned Rogers Middle School in Hyde Park is large enough, but it's also in bad shape, he said. School Committee Chairman Micahel Loconto said, as an example, the building would need to have sprinklers installed before it could be used.

Perille said the West Roxbury building has been falling apart for years - an example of the neglect the BuildBPS program is supposed to end. In 2016, she said, the state rejected a BPS request for funding for a new roof because the building might not support it. BPS then paid for repairs, rather than a replacement, but the nor'easters this past March destroyed the repairs and opened up new ways for rain to get in the building.

In July, an ISD inspector said the building was no safe or fit for occupancy - the roof leaks had led to soggy, moldy carpeting in the library, ceiling tiles were falling and heavy capstones along the roof were crumbling and looked ready to fall.

Perille said BPS paid for emergency repairs to make the building safe for the current school year, but said ISD warned the building would be unlikely to pass another inspection after that. She said that just fixing the exterior problems for the long term would cost $11 million and that with an entirely new school costing about $100 million, it made sense to just shut the building at the end of the school year, raze it and put up a new building - even though that could take seven years.

Officials did not discuss what will happen to the $18-million athletic fields the Boston Parks Department installed at West Roxbury in 2015.

In contrast to West Roxbury, the McCormack is not in bad shape, but officials are looking to closing it as part of an overall plan to eliminate all of Boston's middle schools - so that students and parents would no longer have to go through a three-school process in BPS but could instead move from a K-6 school to a 7-12 one or from a K-8 school to a 9-12 one.

McCormack students would be moved to space in Excel High School at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Parents and students criticized that for moving the kids - many of whom are in ESL programs - to a troubled high school with few ESL programs. Haven Jones, a clinical social worker at the McCormack, questioned moving the school into Excel, which first opened in 1901 - what happens, she asks, when BPS decides that building is too old and moves all its students out?

Officials acknowledged they would have preferred moving the McCormack programs to a "high performing" high school, but that none of those had enough space for the middle-school students.

At the end of the construction, McCormack student at Excel would have priority for seats in the new 7-12 school in the building. Officials added the new building would not be a new school - they would instead move an existing high school to the space.

One of BuildBPS's goals to create new school space in neighborhoods that are either short of them now or have students who cannot easily get to quality programs. In addition to the 12 new or revamped buildings BPS hopes to build, it expects to start a regular rehab program that would mean a new or revamped school coming online every other year after the main BuildBPS program is finished.

Officials said the initial program will prioritize new construction or major renovations in Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and East Boston. But officials said that converting the Irving Middle School in Roslindale into a new use can't happen until additional elementary seats are opened in the neighborhoods it now serves, primarily Roslindale and Hyde Park. In fact, only Allston/Brighton would not see major new construction, in part because its elementary schools already have more seats than students to fill them.

They added that new or rebuilt schools will give priority to ESL and special-education programs for new space, in part because most such programs are now concentrated in just a few schools.

Officials said they are working with the BPDA to identify potentially vacant land that could be used to expand some schools - and did not rule out selling off some BPS land that would no longer be needed after all the reconfiguration.

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Comments

Does anyone believe any of this BS?

I mean, I tell Daddy how handsome he is all the time, but he's no Benintendi !!!!! #greatcatch

But seriously....who was the contractor who built this place in the 70's? Let's know that contractor. Who were the horrible contractors who did the repairs that only lasted one year ? Our house is over 100 years old and is still making us money day in , day out.

Have you heard of John Fish?

Like as if ISD would condemn a building without Marty telling them to tie their shoes on there way out the door. How convenient this is.....ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Funny, we never have this problem with the Brookline schools. Let alone the private schools.

I'm going to talk to Adrian Walker about writing a column about what a terrible job Menino, the urban mechanic, did maintaining the physical structures of the schools. #holdyourbreath

#wakeup

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English High

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Shares the same basic design with West Roxbury and was built around the same time, so as one of the several perceptive kids who spoke asked, why isn't it being shut as well?

That might have something to do with what one of the BPS officials said was the ad-hoc nature of how things used to get done in BPS: There were no plans, no schedules for how and when things got done in BPS, so maybe somebody at English screamed louder (or maybe all the attention English got for poor academic performance meant more attention to basic capital needs, who knows?).

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English High

Don't forget that English High (JP High then) was a former office building retrofitted into a high school. And I believe Westie was built from scratch, so although similar in appearance they are probably different beasts altogether.

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Municipal Contracts ......

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....... are awarded to the lowest bid that meets the specifications. I believe this is the way it has always been.

sort of

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They go to the lowest Responsible bid. That middle word is important. The design team is to follow up with a review of the bidders to provide a recommendation for the contract award.

Make fun of MA public bidding laws all you want, but there is a process.

Getting things done

If it took a temporary superintendent to finally get things done, maybe we should get a new temporary superintendent when Perillo leaves.

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Roslindale schools

I'm interested to hear how/where they'll replace the Irving in Roslindale. I mean, the Clay Auto site would be a good location* but I suspect that's not available. Somewhere on American Legion?

I understand how these things came to be, but it's a bummer to see the large attractive brick former school across the St. from Green T on Walter st and of course the old Roslindale High School building still in full use but not as schools and yet our local kids are either crammed into shoeboxes like the Mozart/Bates/Conley or going to school out of the neighborhood by necessity. If the Irving is replaced, it will certainly be farther from the core of the neighborhood.

* and maybe in West Roxbury? I don't recall...

K-6

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Last night Perille's presentation stated they expect to turn the Irving into a K-6 school. Pretty sure that would immediately make it the largest K-6 in Roslindale.

Long gone

They will have graduated high school by then.

And their cohorts five years hence will either be in a K-8 or a 7-12.

Don't be dense

Where in Roslindale would 7th and 8th grade classes be offered to replace those that would be lost if the Irving switches to a K-6 model?

Huh?

There are going to be no public middle schools. Therefore in a few years any public school kid in 7th or 8th grade will either be in a K-8 or a 7-12. That includes kids who live in Roslindale or nearby, who might in 2018 be attending the Irving.

Currently Roslindale has two K-8 schools, the Haley and the BTU. West Roxbury, JP, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Roxbury, which are all adjacent to Roslindale, have seventeen among them.

https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/cms/lib/MA01906464/Centricity/Domain...

Looking at the map, it seems to me that Roslindale needs a new K-8 more than it needs a new K-6. But I'm sure the BPS has access to numbers I don't.

As BPS converts more schools to 7-12 format, more seats will open up in 7th and 8th grade at those schools too. Maybe they'll put one in Roslindale, which currently lacks a high school. With the closure of the WREC, that's going to be a big swath of the city without a high school.

Fair point but still

The Haley and the BTU are full currently so it's still not clear where the displaced kids are going to end up. From previous discussions, the view I've long heard is that that Rosi k-5 are physically too small for 7-8 graders so are a bad fit for conversion. Seems like the end result is that all Roslindale kids will have to go to school outside their neighborhood after 6th grade long term which is IMO disappointing. Granted, my kid currently does this and its fine but it's still weird guarantee that there are no local options for kids.

the BTU is also in JP of course but it is close.

The BTU is not full. We

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The BTU is not full. We actually would love more 7th and 8th graders!

Really?

My bad - that was an unfounded assumption and poor posting.

Are most of your 7-8th graders going to the exam schools or what's the issue with retention?

This is also my impression of the BPS in general is that there aren't enough K-5 seats but people are way more reluctant to just roll with BPS when the stakes get higher in middle to high school grades.

Inevitably

They're not going to move the Irving middle school somewhere else, they're just going to close it. BPS is going to close all the middle schools.

The Irving has 344 students now, which is a bit small for a Boston high school. Maybe they'll put a K-8 in the building?

K-6

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Scroll up a bit; the plan is to turn it into a K-6.

Steps in the right direction

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This school system is so large, old, and convoluted--and historically poorly run-- that any major facilities changes will be hard to explain and easy to poke holes in. The important thing is getting the system, finally, onto a regular, rational schedule of repair, renovation, and new building.

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Thanks for recapping some of

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Thanks for recapping some of this info so well, since as you mentioned, the meeting went well into the night and students and others leave after their public comment time. For that reason I appreciate committee member Regina Robinson urging that in upcoming student and community meetings this information is shared as well, and in to the same level of detail.

This whole idea of operating where the squeaky wheel gets the grease and everyone else gets the leftovers is a disaster way to run any part of a city, so putting repairs and renovations on a cycle with interim inspections is encouraging.

I most definitely give the side eye to a lot of things in the school system, and I sympathize with the kids that will be affected by these changes, a huge focus needs to be on preserving what they can of the school community whatever space they are transitioned to. Like, it would be great if the autism program at WRA landed so that students could be greeted by familiar faces of their teachers next year.

Isnt the former Roslindale

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Isnt the former Roslindale High building still intact on Poplar street, which the new and improved school bus friendly West Roxbury investment was to replace ?

The building is still there, yes

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But it's now senior housing and no longer owned by BPS, so it's not exactly available for use as a school, any more than, oh, the Longfellow School is.

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But nertheless it is still

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But nertheless it is still standing, ( and it is convenient to The T as it always was, as opposed to the newer and improved WR HS ) . So much for the big experiment !

That building got extensive renovations in the 1980s

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Back then, I was randomly walking down Poplar Street one day and happened upon the groundbreaking for the reconstruction.

It's also recently gotten a revamp of it's HVAC system, along with other work most likely.

I guess being residences, and with residents paying rent and whatnot, the money is there for upkeep. That's what usually happens. Most of Boston's housing stock is pre-World War II and is by and large still in good shape.

Thanks Adam!

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Thanks for staying until the end to report on everything that happened. This is the ONLY place all these details are available, in a (mostly) unbiased manner, in a readable, informative format. Thanks!

(Try getting this info off of Facebook, which is nothing but rumors and people fretting and screaming.)

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Confession ...

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But first, thanks!

I watched the thing on YouTube rather than actually driving up to Dudley Square (because I figured this would be a long meeting). Also, I turned it off around 12:10 p.m. because the speakers' voices were getting softer and harder to hear, even with my volume cranked to 11, and I figured I had enough to at least write the West Roxbury part of the story.

Seconded!

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100% agreed - the early morning wake-ups required for many of the educators and students who came to testify at the meeting prevented us from staying past the end of public comment last night, so I appreciate that you stayed all the way until the end and provided such a helpful summary of what was said after we left!
(Also, on a selfish personal note: as a major UHub fan, it totally made my day to see myself referenced in one of your articles - thanks for that as well, Adam!)

The kids

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Thanks!

I'm rewatching parts of the meeting, not because I'm insane, but because I'm going to be writing a more McCormack-centered article for the Dorchester Reporter, and I'm really struck by how articulate the students from all three schools were at making their arguments. If the meeting had ended at, oh, exactly 9 p.m., I would have focused way more on what they said, but I figured it would make more sense to concentrate on the answers BPS gave to at least some of their questions after they left.

But one thing was, in hindsight, kind of awful. Way, way late (like maybe 11:45?) Perille sort of just dropped into the conversation that, oh, yeah, they're going to try to keep the West Roxbury autism and special-ed programs together. Would it have killed her to break meeting protocol and announce that when all the parents of the autistic kids were pleading with BPS to not break up the West Roxbury program - one of them breaking down in tears?

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18 million dollars on Athletic Fields

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If the School is in such bad condition why the Hell would they spend 18 million dollars on Athletic Fields 2 yrs ago instead of Fixing the building that's like buying property landscaping it and throwing a cardboard box there and sleeping in it calling it home that makes no sense at all that was just wasted money BPS should have been reorganized along time ago just to many problems in and out between buildings and school buses we have had schools unable to use drink fountains cause of lead Etc

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Interesting thing about those fields, though

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They weren't intended just for West Roxbury. Boston Latin's teams have used it as their "home" field for at least some games (then again, Boston Latin's soccer teams also have an equipment container up the hill at Millennium Park).

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The fields will get used

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The updated fields will get heavily used, whether there is a functioning school there or not. Anytime I'm at Millennium the HS fields are always busy with flag football or Babe Ruth baseball or soccer or something else.

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Who paid for the fields

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Turns out (and I should have known this from having written about them three years ago) that the city Parks and Rec. Department paid for them, not BPS.

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That's good

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information. I assumed BPS had paid for the field renovations at the expense of the school falling apart and it's good to know that's not the case.

WR High

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WR High School is basically located in a swamp. Wouldn't be surprised if that location combined with derelict maintenance resulted in a deterioration on a more rapid scale than say English, which was built around the same time and style as Adam mentioned. WR High school is located in the middle of nowhere basically and has never been a good location for a school. It sends a pretty clear message that those students are not intended to be part of the community.

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I interviewed for a job at WR

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I interviewed for a job at WR High a few years ago. I decided on the way in that I would not accept the job, if offered. The place was such a scary dump, I could not believe that humans were allowed to inhabit it. It made me incredibly sad that BPS students were housed there. Very relieved to hear now that it will be razed. The setting should be returned to the swamp that it is.

7 years?

Perille said BPS paid for emergency repairs to make the building safe for the current school year, but said ISD warned the building would be unlikely to pass another inspection after that. She said that just fixing the exterior problems for the long term would cost $11 million and that with an entirely new school costing about $100 million, it made sense to just shut the building at the end of the school year, raze it and put up a new building - even though that could take seven years.

Doesn't the state pay for half the school if Boston wanted to tear this down and build again? Shouldn't take 3 years, and since you don't need the space, it should make it easier.

possible reasons

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Spit-balling here as to possible causes to lengthen the project to 7 years:

* location of the school in a wetland area - added permitting and study will be undertaken by both the design team and expected agencies (review by all agencies adds time)
* demo permitting will include abatement since the dreaded M word was mentioned - including the wetland environmental management review of the demo
* added geotech testing, likely. Gives updated info to structural team for design.
* design effort of a school can be contentious, long effort so that all parties are heard
* construction could take 1.5 - 2 years

There's more. But the safe answer is 7 ish years with the hope and intent that it can be delivered faster.

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We call BS

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a few comments:

Closing the McCormack to put students in an older building in total disrepair-- given that they are closing West Roxbury because it's in disrepair--is bogus. The McCormack sits on valuable property

South Boston's EXCEL sits on a nice piece of property also. Great for condos.

West Roxbury closing...they're not going to put a school there. Too big, too nice. Worth a lot of money to a developer.

Why did the BPS spend a ton of money to put the new ballfield at WRox and leave the roof to leak? It'd make a nice charter school complex, and CM better watch out.

If the school department can justify its moves by saying that the buildings have fallen into disrepair because of its own negligence, what makes anyone so sure that the department will change its stripes on keeping up repairs and maintenance with the new buildings? Call BS on this.

Why doesn't anyone give a shit about the kids and what the disruption will do to their lives?

Got a laugh about ISD wanting to shut WR down. Hack dept and that moves so slowly, hard to know it's functioning at all.

This $1 Billion that the mayor says the city is going to spend -- it's over 10 years and 125 schools. What's more, MUCH of it is concentrated on a few elite, boutique schools such as the Quincy and the Eliot. The tend-to-be-wealthy Eliot parents raise a lot of $$ every year and could probably subsidize their own building. The rich get richer. This 'Billion' will be spread too thin for the rest of the city to benefit. How about fixing the heating system at all elementary schools or cleaning the bathrooms or providing better climate controls? Or science labs in all schools? This Billion is fiction. The masses, who really need the improvements, are getting pennies.

This is the tip of the iceberg and Perille was given the job, as she implied in the Globe op-ed, to make the tough decisions and then get out of the way for a new superintendent.

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Exactly

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Why do schools with large philanthropic operations like the Eliot and BAA get brand new construction projects, while schools that serve BPS' most disadvantaged students get shuttered and the students scattered to the wind?

Simplest answer

Because those kids got stuck in decaying buildings decades ago, and finally someone is stepping up to fix or replace the buildings, so all the kids can go to school in nice buildings.

It’s a shame it took so long.

Except

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For the schools that have large private fundraising operations and wealthier families, they're keeping cohorts and staff together. For the schools with poorer and browner students they're just dispersing them across the system.

Not entirely true

Really, digging your heels in and race-baiting like your breath depends on it isn't helping the kids, any of them.

Again, all of the middle schools are going away. All of them. Rich, poor, white, black, there will be no students in a public middle school in Boston within a decade. All of the McCormack kids are being moved together, to Excel, and then when the new 7-12 is finished, they can all move back there.

In the case of the closure of the autism and other special needs programs at the WREC, Perillo says she's keeping them together, and moving them to different schools.

In the case of the rest of the WREC, the school or schools housed there have been reorganized repeatedly over the past decades. West Roxbury Academy is one of the lowest performing schools in the district, and they've been trying to close it for years, and Urban Science Academy isn't much better. They're in a terrible location, where kids get hit by cars on a regular basis, in a crumbling building literally sinking into a swamp. People get attached to things easily, but what a thing to be attached to.

All the kids can easily fit into other half-empty high school buildings. If the BPS put a little consideration into it, they could stick one "school" into English and the other into the Burke.

There's more to the program than just new buildings

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Yes, heating and roof repairs at a lot of schools are also part of the plan. In fact, schools in Allston/Brighton will get special attention, because none of the schools there are slated for the major renovations.

The investments BPS will make into those thing will, as the kids say, leverage additional state funds. Which is good, but which also leads to Yet Another Discussion of Past BPS Ineptitude.

In the past, BPS officials would just sign checks for repairs (or not, as in the case of West Roxbury), dust off their hands and move on, usually without seeking reimbursement from a state fund set up expressly to pay for school repair and construction projects - a fund into which Boston makes annual contributions (so, yay, Boston taxpayers were effecively subsidizing suburban school construction!).

That began to change under Carol Johnson, and under prodding from the City Council, but even there BPS was doing less than honors work.

At one point, Johnson shut Hyde Park High School (well, by then converted into the Hyde Park Education Complex). Then the state reminded her the extensive repairs it had helped fund were supposed to be for open schools and that if she didn't re-open the building, they would demand Boston repay $36 million. And that's when she suddenly decided it made sense to move Boston Latin Academy to Hyde Park. Which, of course, led to its own uproar and never happened, but fortunately, she found two other schools with less outraged students, alumni and parents and moved them to Hyde Park.

Mistake from the get go

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WR high flooded the first year it was open, the lower levels have had issues forever. The building sank after 18 months and they have been trying to fix it since then. Never should have been built, but was because if backlash over closing Roslindale HS and general dissatisfaction with BPS after busing started.

Location. Location, Location

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When Westie was built people were already saying "what were they thinking." Let's review.

The land on which it is built is at the edge of Millennium park, or as long-time residents know it, the Gardner Street Dump. It was a trash dump well into the 1960s and near the 1970s until dumping by municipal trucks was stopped. Itthen continued to take selective ltrash while plans to cap it with several feet of earth was formulated. Those little pipes protruding from the ground in places are to allow methane gas to escape from the rotting trash below.

The land is also on the edge of a wetlands area. The driveway into the school is filled land on top of a swamp. The land fronting the school building is clearly a swamp and the land abutting the school back to the cemetery is also swampy.

While there are BPS buses that bring kids there, that does not work for all fo the kids so many take public transit (MBTA). However there are no places for a bus to stop there and there was never any effort to even try that.

Kids get off at varying locations and walk the rest fo the way. One route had the kids taking the #37 and getting off at Baker & Vermont - the end fo the line. From there they would walk down a private way street and down a dirt embankment across private property to VFW Parkway where they would then cross th estreet. That led to kids getting it and traffic snarling. That is why there is a very long and high fence along that part of VFW Parkway - to keep the kids from crossing at a point other than where the traffic signal and crosswalk is... which by the way was a late addition to that area.

Much of that access has been blocked by new construction.

Some kids get off at Spring & Baker (#36) and walk down the side streets to VFW, or cut through the pedestrian stairs and path through the apartments and offices that brings them out near the signal and crosswalk.

The last is the #36 to Rivermoor Park. Some get off at VFW Parkway by the skaing rink and walk VFW parkway and up the driveway. In the good weather they go to the stop near the entrance to millennium park at he rear of Home Depot. There is a well-worn footpath that goes under a small railroad bridge under the Needham line. This takes them out to the school parking lot. This is only passable in the fair weather months. It's worth noting this is not a public path but a shortcut the kids created. The bridge is small and originally accommodated train passage over a small stream. That stream is now greatly underground... again this is a wetlands area. At one time in history the stream was significant enough for the railroad to actually put a bridge there.

So access is very, very difficult for the kids. This gets worse when you factor after-school activities and the fact that after a certain hour the #36 doesn't even go to Rivermoor as much making the kids walk about a mile back to the Vets Hospital or all the way to Spring Street.

This location, when built, didn't even have the same buses that get there now, so this was a location that required a car or take what ever BPS bus was going out there, and as noted... those buses do not go to all neighborhoods but leave from designated locations such as Cleary Square, Forest Hills, and a few others. And many kids would not take those buses because of trouble that often happened, or in many instances... to avoid generating trouble.

So along with the building problems, you can factor stability of the land, and student access.

The construction of West Roxbury High School was in response to the dilapidated and aging Roslindale High School, which itself was to be closed because of its age and because it was falling apart and too expensive to rehab using school and education dollars or grants. Once Westie was built, Roslindale closed. Since it had a fair framework the entity that took it over to create senior and assisted living was able to get federal funding to rehab that building for _that_ purpose.

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Hmmm

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Officials said they are working with the BPDA to identify potentially vacant land that could be used to expand some schools - and did not rule out selling off some BPS land that would no longer be needed after all the reconfiguration

Wonder what will actually happen to the WR High location.

If they end up not rebuilding the school (and if there is room in other high schools for all the students, why would they rebuild), hopefully they can use the land for something to benefit the community. Whatever happened to the Community Preservation Act and commitment to acquisition, creation, preservation, and enhancement of open space? So much open space is being built on. This would be a good opportunity to preserve some open space especially since it doesn't appear that building on a swamp worked out too well to begin with.

Condos

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I can smell the construction in West Roxbury ready

WREC to close

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The costs for running WREC for the past 10 years have been increasing due to many factors: increased cost of heating and AC, longest driveways and sidewalks of probably any other BPS schools (all of which needs to cleaned of snow, salted and sanded before school any time there is snow and ice), retrofitting for new schools (4 from 2005 to 2011; 2 from 2011to present), security cameras, metal detectors, technology updates, leaking roof, foundation settling, pest control, busing, and more. For budget deductions, there have been several years where a budget cut of 10 percent have stripped away electives, staff and technology support and upgrades. Since 2005, there have been several school leaders who have left and retired leaving only only two leaders, one school leader who was removed last April for no logical reason that has ever been made public. Most of the students who go to WREC are not from West Roxbury although that has not affected the loyalty and love for WREC. NEASC accreditation does assess a school building’s ability to be a safe and appropriate building for the needs of its students- all of which would cost adequate funding for maintenance and improvements. When WREC was built, it was built with a lot of windows which leak a lot of heat and AC and would not be cost effective in today’s public buildings - believe or not, the older BPS buildings probably cost less in heating and air conditioning. Having parent council meetings is challenging at night as was explained because of public transportation. Nonetheless all of these very real issues compared to other BPS buildings and schools may not be enough to explain now in October that this is the last year. Seniors get to graduate with the last class, but other students can transfer, starting over in new places, not fair to them, not fair to parents, just not fair. But what is fair in the way BPS has moved schools and programs mostly at the high school level? Does the school committee just does what the mayor wants? Does the School Dept, explain their reasons carefully to any sector? In my humble opinion, I understand that budgets need scrutiny, but it always breaks our communities’ heart to show no support to schools that have worked so hard to make a difference in the lives of their students.