JP Kids: Eliot School looks to update and expand building

With an aging building and class size growing, the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts is starting a multi-year process to update its facility and expand its footprint.

“It’s a long ways out, but we need more space,” said Abigail Norman, director of the Eliot School, which is located at 24 Eliot St.

She said that the current building was originally built in 1831 and needs to be brought up to code, and that the school’s programming and classes have “grown so, so much.” Norman said that the number of students has grown by a factor of eight in the past decade and that the school’s partnership program with Boston Public School has 2,000 students. The teachers for that program do all their prep work at the Eliot School before going to schools across the city to teach. Space has become so limited at the building on Eliot Street that the administration has moved to Amory Street.

“There are so many pressures on us,” said Norman.

She said it will be a multi-year process to expand the facilities, including significant neighborhood outreach and fundraising for the project not beginning until at least 2020. Norman said the school has already begun discussions with neighbors and that the school will meet with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council this month and the Jamaica Pond Association in November.

“I want to say we want to be sure neighbors’ ideas and concerns are included to what we give the architect,” said Norman.

She said the school is looking to hire an architect for a feasibility study at the beginning of 2018, who will then come up drawings and cost estimates.

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