Metro

Baker to attend groundbreaking at school for low-income students

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker faces reporters Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at the Statehouse, in Boston. Baker signed a bill into law Monday officially ending the state's longstanding practice of sending women with alcohol or substance abuse problems but who have committed no crimes to the state prison for women in Framingham. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/AP/file 2016
Governor Charlie Baker.

Governor Charlie Baker offered his congratulations Tuesday morning at a celebration for the expansion of a tuition-free Dorchester Episcopal school serving children from low-income Boston families.

“I can’t wait to see what comes of all this,” Baker said at the groundbreaking, “because you are, in many respects, a truly great institution that has done wonderful things for kids and for families here in Boston and here in the Commonwealth for the past two decades.”

The Epiphany School, in Dorchester Center, will expand into a nearby property to build faculty housing, a resource center for graduates, and an early learning center planned to serve more than 60 infants and toddlers.

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School staff and students joined with community residents and elected officials Tuesday on the grounds of the 2-acre expansion site to celebrate.

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The school focuses on serving children from homeless families and those with connections to the state Department of Children and Families. Baker said he and his wife had been deeply impressed when they visited the school a couple of years ago.

“We both walked away just absolutely enthralled by . . . the mission, and more importantly, the follow-through and the execution, and the relationship that was so obvious between the [teachers] and the students that existed at that school,” he said.

Funds for the new structures come from a $25 million capital campaign, which also aims to enlarge the school’s teacher training program and increase support services for graduates. So far, it has raised more than three-quarters of its goal, school officials said.

The Rev. Alan Gates, Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts, said the school is “one of the jewels in the crown” of the diocese. Gates led a prayer of thanks for the dedication of the school’s educators, the generosity of its supporters, the promise of its students, and the opportunity to grow.

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“May the mission of Epiphany School be expanded in this place, that hope might break through for ever more young people,” he said.

The campus expansion will include a 22,000-square-foot building, with a gym and meeting space, and 7,000 square feet of outdoor learning space.

The Rev. John H. Finley IV, a cofounder and head of the 18-year-old school, said a larger campus will allow the school to serve more students.

“This expansion will enable us to both start younger, while also growing stronger,” Finley said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.