Students and school staff bid goodbye to the worn-down Carter School building Tuesday morning, anticipating a therapeutic pool, sensory garden and better space for the incoming class in 2024.
Renovating the William E. Carter School, which serves Boston’s students with intensive disabilities and complex learning needs between ages 12 and 22, has been a “long time coming,” Mayor Michelle Wu said.
Alongside Wu, the ceremony was attended by many of the project’s champions, including leadership from the city, Boston Public Schools, Boston School Committee and Massachusetts School Building Authority; State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg; and members of the school’s community.
“Our team inherited the desire, the advocacy, the fight to get our students what they deserve,” said Mark O’Connor, the Carter School principal, explaining how early Carter teachers kept their supplies constantly packed as the school and its students were passed off around the city. “And now being in a place where our city, our state is showing us the value of our students’ learning through this ($92) million investment — not just in a building, but a building designed specifically around our students’ needs.”
The city will fund about $66 million, with the other $26 million reimbursed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
The contract for the project was awarded to the New England-based construction company BOND Building.
The new building will expand the school, increasing the student count from 25 to 60 and allow for early childhood and pre-K programs.
The plans are also centered around better serving the students’ needs, including the therapeutic pool, sensory garden, a rooftop classroom and a tailored literacy commons space.
In the old building, Goldberg said, some of the doorways aren’t even designed for wheelchair access.
The rebuilding project is one step in the “Green New Deal for Boston Public School” Wu announced in May, a $2 billion plan to overhaul the infrastructure of Boston’s schools.
Speakers Tuesday cited a couple of the projects, including the opening of the new Boston Arts Academy facility this fall and the ongoing work on the Josiah Quincy Upper School.
“Buildings like these build community and build a sense of hope and place for our children,” said Brenda Cassellius, the BPS superintendent, of the Carter School plans. “Today is a monumental day, a step forward for students, a step forward for their achievement, both academic and social and emotional.”
BOSTON, MA – June 21: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu greets Paola, one of the students of the Carter School, as Mayor Wu helped in the ground breaking of the new William E. Carter School on June 21, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)