Every student in Boston deserves to learn in a space that is safe, healthy, energy-efficient, and inspiring. Yet many of our school buildings lack the basic infrastructure they need—bathrooms with doors that lock; sinks with running water; libraries or science labs—let alone the technology and resources for a world-class education. We need a large-scale shift in how we manage our Boston Public Schools facilities. To deliver on a quality guarantee, build healthy and nurturing physical environments, and align with our broader civic goals of equity, opportunity, and engagement we need a Green New Deal for BPS.
This isn’t just a plan to upgrade our school facilities. It’s a vision to leverage Boston residents’ creativity and passion to reimagine our schools as full-service community hubs that can adapt to meet the evolving needs of our students and our City. It’s a commitment to safeguarding the climate resilience of our school buildings, which make up nearly half of City building emissions. And it’s a pledge to listen to and rebuild trust with our communities—BPS students and families who have been calling for change for decades.
Our vision for Boston Public schools is to deliver on a Student Quality Guarantee– a framework that every student should have at their school:
- Academics: High-quality curricula, instruction, and career pathways that value the different cultures within our school communities and our City
- Enrichment: Access to arts, sports, student government, and safe places to go before and after school
- Facilities: Modern buildings with access to science labs, technology, libraries, gymnasiums, performing arts, supportive, and green spaces
- Student & Family Supports: Social services and resources for families so our students, families, and communities can thrive
In order to deliver a Facilities Quality Guarantee, we need a district-wide strategy that includes four potential pathways:
- Building New Schools across every neighborhood, designed to host multiple current school communities in state-of-the-art facilities
- Major Renovations at current school buildings that are in need of repair, but do not need to be completely torn down
- Grade Reconfigurations to create one-time transitions and predictable pathways from grades PreK-6 to 7-12
- Combining Small Schools to facilitate building upgrades and combine resources to reinvest in schools, expand enrichment opportunities, and produce stronger student outcomes
Check out the Green New Deal website boston.gov/gnd-bps for more information about the proposed projects.
We’re also investing in some important foundational tools that will help inform the prioritization of future projects:
We’ve developed a Building Dashboard which is a dataset built internally over the last year that integrates data from the SY22 Opportunity Index and information on each school building’s capital assets and environmental conditions. This dashboard is continually updated by the BPS Facilities team and is just a first step in sharing building data more publicly. This tutorial video provides a guide on how to navigate the Building Dashboard.
As of April 2022, we are working with Bureau Veritas Technical Assessments to complete a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA), a detailed analysis that produces a larger, in-depth dataset of building conditions and makes recommendations for repair, replacement, and renovation. The FCA will offer an independent, objective analysis of BPS facilities, offering more transparency for community members and informing future decisions around capital investment priorities. Once it’s complete, the FCA will be integrated into BPS’ Asset Essentials management system, which tracks all work orders and capital projects, to maintain real-time data on the state of our buildings.
Lastly, we are working with DLR Group, Inc. to complete a School Design Study, a set of programming and design recommendations for PreK-6 and 7-12 schools to guide future renovations and construction, informed by authentic engagement with Boston community members over the next year. By offering educational and programmatic standards based on BPS values and vision—including our quality guarantee, our commitment to inclusion, and our dedication to an equitable, world-class, high-quality education—the Design Study will reduce the time and expenses required for future school construction and renovation projects, accelerating progress toward our district-wide facilities goals.