City Councilor Julia Mejia (at large), said today BPS appears poised to announce it's moving the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science from Malcolm X Boulevard in Roxbury to the former West Roxbury Education Complex, next to a swamp on the edge of the city in a building that BPS officials ordered shut in 2019 because, they said at the time, it was filling with mold due to a roof that could not be replaced, atop a structure that looked ready to plunge to the ground.
Mayor Wu and School Superintendent Mary Skipper has scheduled a press conference for 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in front of the O'Bryant and the neighboring Madison Park Technical Vocational High School to "share their vision for Boston Public Schools high schools."
At a hearing today of the council's Ways and Means Committee on the city school budget for the coming fiscal year, Mejia asked a BPS official about what she said was the decision to move the O'Bryant, one of the city's three exam schools, to West Roxbury.
"Everybody in the community knows about it, because everybody's been blowing my phone up about it," Mejia said.
However, Samuel DePina, BPS deputy superintendent of operations, said he was "not in a position to talk about that right now."
In 2018, BPS officials described the state of the West Roxbury Education Complex, which at the time housed two high schools, in near apocalyptic terms: They said ISD was near condemning the building, that carpets were full of mold spurred by water pouring through a damaged roof, for which the state had rejected a proposed replacement in 2016 because of concerns the rest of the building might collapse under the weight of a new roof because of its own weakening, including capstones that seemed ready to fall on people entering or leaving the building.
BPS managed to make some repairs to the roof, but those were destroyed by a series of nor'easters in March of 2018, officials said.
In recent weeks, however, Mayor Wu has said the building - designed by the same architect and constructed around the same time as English High School in Jamaica Plain - could be renovated and re-used.
Despite the dire terms in which BPS officials spoke about the building before it closed in 2019 and the West Roxbury Academy and the Urban Science Academy dissolved, the building has continued to be used occasionally. Boston Police, for example, have used it for training programs.