Agassiz building will not be condos

March 18, 2011
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BPS, City still have no solid plans

JP SOUTH—The Agassiz School building, along with eight other schools slated for closure at the end of the school year, will not be turned over to private developers, the Gazette has learned.

And the Agassiz might reopen as expansion space for another school, according to Boston Public Schools (BPS).

BPS and the City of Boston still have no plans for future uses of the nine school buildings, Lee McGuire, chief communications officer at BPS, told the Gazette. However, the buildings would not go to private developers, McGuire assured the Gazette: “They wouldn’t turn into condos or anything like that.”

City Councillor Matt O’Malley is investigating how BPS and the city will determine what would happen to the buildings. He called a hearing on March 14 at City Hall to hear from BPS representatives.

“It was a good first step. We have a lot of work to do,” O’Malley told the Gazette after the hearing. “There was a lot of information [Deputy Superintendent Michael] Goar could not supply us with.”

No process for deciding the schools’ fate is currently in place, McGuire said. He also explained that BPS will not start any process until the buildings are empty, after the end of the current school year.

While the buildings belong to the city, BPS has priority use, McGuire said.

“We would look at our needs as a system,” McGuire said. The first option would be for BPS to re-use the buildings as possible future schools or to adapt them into community centers.

According to O’Malley, Goar said that there’s a possibility the Agassiz School might re-open in September as “swing space” for schools needing extra space after expanding as directed in the Redesign and Reinvest plan.

“If we’re doing heavy construction on a school, we need extra space for students to be relocated to,” McGuire explained. It is possible that the Agassiz could be used that way, he said.

If BPS cannot find uses for the buildings, the city would then have its say—but private developers will be left out of the loop.

The Agassiz School on Child Street has over 109,000 square feet of space, McGuire said. Murphy Playground, behind the school, is not part of school property and belongs to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The school also serves as a polling place. The Commissioner of the Boston Election Department, Geraldine Cuddyer, told the Gazette that the future of the polling place “is still up in the air, but it is something we’re watching.”

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