Children’s home plan moves ahead


S. HUNTINGTON AVE.—The Home for Little Wanderers has officially notified the city about its plan to rebuild its entire Jamaica Plain campus. The children’s home presented an early version of the plan to the Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) last month.

In a letter of intent filed two weeks ago with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the Home proposes demolishing all of the interconnected buildings that make up its 161 S. Huntington Ave. facility, known as the Knight Children’s Center. About 70,000 square feet of new space would be built as a replacement. The Home told the JPA the new construction would consist of several smaller buildings.

The proposed new space includes: 27,000 square feet of “educational uses” for about 60 children; 19,000 square feet for “community outreach”; 17,000 square feet of housing for about 40 children; 4,000 square feet for a gym; and 3,000 square feet for administration. The current residential program houses 35 youths.

The Home’s letter notes the project would require a conditional use permit for construction near the protected park area of the Jamaicaway and Olmsted Park. The Home also said the project might need a zoning variance for height and possibly for other zoning requirements.

The letter of intent is just a heads-up to the city. An official BRA review process—including at least one public meeting—will begin when the Home files an actual plan. The Home suggested to the JPA that could happen this fall.

The Knight Children’s Center includes residential and day programs for children ages 5-13 with “serious emotional, behavioral and learning problems,” according to the Home’s web site.

The Home is headquartered in the Back Bay and has other facilities around Boston and in various suburbs.

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