Mayor Wu and School Superintendent today announced a series of high-school moves they say will dramatically increase educational and career opportunities for students at the O'Bryant and Madison Park school and other high schools.
Wu hopes to start work in early 2025 on a reconstruction of the failed West Roxbury Education Complex off VFW Parkway into "state of the art STEM campus" for the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science that will be able to add 400 new students and programs in such advanced fields as biomedicine, engineering and computer sciences, next to already existing athletic facilities.
At the same time, she and Skipper said, workers will transform the O'Bryant building into a new wing of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, which will enable the school to add seventh and eighth grade and its own new programs in such "green new deal" areas as electric-vehicle and solar panel maintenance and coastal resilience. She said that JetBlue has agreed to help set up an aviation curriculum for students at Logan - and that in the end, Madison Park will finally become the "nation-leading vocational technical school" it was originally meant to be. It will also see its enrollment grow from about 1,000 to 2,200.
Wu said the two existing schools simply had no room to expand in their current buildings to add new 21st-century programs or students.
Wu acknowledged the challenge of shifting a primarily Black and Brown student body at the O'Bryant in Roxbury to "a different community" in West Roxbury. However, she vowed that transportation - the West Roxbury athletic fields are now occasionally served by a single MBTA bus route out of Forest Hills - would not be an issue. She said school-transportation officials are already working on "a full transportation plan" that will include shuttle buses from across the city and "continuous shuttles" from certain key bus stations to ensure students have no problems getting to one of the more remote locations in Boston for classes, after-school programs and athletics.
In a statement, Wu said she has budgeted $18 million to begin the work to begin design and preliminary work on the new O'Bryant School, with additional funds to "gut renovate" the currently hulking building. Wu has also proposed a $45 million rehab of the current Madison Park and O'Bryant buildings to accommodate Madison Park's new programs and students.
In addition to the O'Bryant and Madison Park, Wu and Skipper announced other impending changes, as part of an effort to create a rigorous high-school curriculum aimed at ensuring students at all city schools can thrive and be equipped for life after school. All students at Charlestown High School will be able to "dual enroll" for a "Year 13" program at Bunker Hill Community College. And the Margarita Muñiz Academy in Jamaica Plain, the city's dual-language school, will be adding seventh and eighth grades.