BOSTON, MA Lee Kennedy Co., Inc., has completed construction on Boston Arts Academy’s new $117 million school building across from the Fenway Park at 174 Ipswich St. More space was a priority for the city’s only public school for the visual and performing arts. The 154,000 s/f building has expanded the Boston Arts Academy’s space allowing them to welcome 15% more students than before.
“I remember walking the halls of the old building, it looked and felt like any other school building to me, with CMU walls and vinyl flooring. But there was an underlying energy, a quiet spirit that lived beneath the surface. I am so proud and honored to have built this building knowing what it means for these kids. A space to innovate, a place where they can express themselves, a place to foster endless possibilities,” said Lee Kennedy, president and CEO.
Each floor within the building is dedicated to a different art discipline with common areas throughout to encourage spontaneous performances and instruction. All levels offer flexible classrooms and different learning environments, including a STEAM lab where students can explore how subjects like math, science, and technology intersect with the arts. Large public spaces, such as the lobby, double as art galleries where student work is displayed. The school’s most impressive space has to be their 500-seat theater featuring a proscenium stage that can not only host student performances, but local artist performances as well. This allows the Boston Arts Academy to continue to develop a community learning environment where students can create their own work and be inspired through working artists in and around Boston.
“Our students deserve school buildings made for modern learning environments, and that is what we have created here,” said Mary Skipper, superintendent of Boston public schools. “We are proud to provide Boston’s young people access to a world-class visual and performing arts high school.”
The new facility provides better rehearsal studios, high-tech fashion and fine art studios, a gymnasium, dance studios, a rooftop recital hall, and more. Many of the spaces are equipped with the latest technology used by professional artists, allowing students to gain experience using the same equipment they will eventually utilize outside of the classroom. At the ceremony for the building, mayor Michelle Wu said, “This is the new baseline for the Boston Public Schools.”
Kennedy was also honored by the Boston Arts Academy Foundation as the builder of the new facility and for his civic responsibility at their BAA Honors Event. Lee is involved in supporting Boston’s youth and serves on the boards for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Claddagh Fund, College Bound Dorchester, and the Neighborhood House Charter School.
The project team for the Boston Arts Academy included PMA Consultants as the owner’s project manager, and Perkins Eastman and Wilson Butler as the architects.