School building will sit empty

John Ruch

PARKSIDE—The Fuller School building on Glen Road will sit vacant, with no immediate plans for reuse, after the Boston International High School moves out at the end of the school year.

The vacancy comes as Boston Public Schools (BPS) has shot down for now the idea of making the Fuller part of a kindgarten-through-8th-grade (K-8) expansion for a Roslindale elementary school.

BPS Superintendent Carol Johnson considered the K-8 idea but “feels it’s not viable right now,” said BPS spokesperson Chris Horan.

BPS also has quashed, at least temporarily, a proposal to expand the Joseph P. Manning Elementary School into a K-8 school.

“Our assessment is that building probably does not lend itself to expansion on that site,” Horn said of the Manning School at 130 Louder’s Lane, calling any K-8 move “unlikely in the near future.”

Horan emphasized the shrinking budget as a backdrop for the decisions.

International High opened in the former Margaret Fuller Elementary School building at 25 Glen Road in 2003. The school will move into a bigger building in Dorchester this fall and expand its programs.

Horan said it is too early to say what the future will bring to the Fuller building, but it is possible it will sit vacant “for the entire school year” in 2009-10. It is one of several BPS buildings that will be vacant this year. “They’ll all be kept secure and clean,” he said.

“That is going to be the question. What do they do with the Fuller?” said City Councilor John Tobin.

Tobin and Horn both noted strong demand for K-8 schools, especially among Roslindale elementary schools. K-8 schools are popular for keeping schoolmates together through the middle-school years.

Tobin said he had been briefed by Manning School officials about a proposed $350,000 internal redesign to make the school K-8. “They can do it without adding onto the structure,” he said.

Horn said the proposal was considered, but noted budget concerns and a reported mixed response from parents.

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