Paint could send Hennigan students to Agassiz

There is a good chance that students from the Hennigan School and West Zone Early Learning Center at 200 Heath St. will begin their school year across JP at the recently-closed Agassiz School at 20 Child St. Boston Public School (BPS) officials announced last week.

Hennigan Community Center activities already have been temporarily moved to the Agassiz.

The reason? The Hennigan is getting a paint job.

The interior of the building was scheduled to be re-painted this summer, BPS spokesperson Lee McGuire told the Gazette this week, but routine testing found low levels of

polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)—a toxic compound—in the existing paint, which has seen significant chipping.

The PCB levels, about 6 parts per million (ppm), are well below the federal required reporting level of 50 ppm, and are not a public-health risk, McGuire said. But BPS decided, as a precautionary measure, not to remove the old paint while students are in the building for summer school.

The school year is scheduled to begin Sept. 8. McGuire said BPS officials expected to know by today if the work will interfere with the beginning of the school year.

The Agassiz was closed last year as part of a district consolidation plan. Teachers and others complained for years about environmental hazards at that school, particularly about water infiltration causing mold to grow in the school.

Hennigan and West Zone parents seeking more information can call BPS’s back-to-school hotline at 617-635-9046 or go to for more information.

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