Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and other city leaders marked a milestone Tuesday in the construction of a new $125 million Boston Arts Academy facility on Ipswich Street, across from Fenway Park.
The final steel beam was placed Tuesday on the building, which is expected to be completed and opened in fall 2022. The building, which will be 153,500 square feet, will allow school leaders to increase the student body by more than 15 percent, according to a statement from the Boston Arts Academy Foundation. The building is expected to open with at least 500 students.
While the new building is under construction, Boston Arts Academy has been operating on Charles Street in Dorchester.
“Our kids in Boston deserve the best school,” Walsh said at a ceremony on Tuesday. “We have great energy going on in our school district right now. We’re going to continue that energy going forward.”
The new building includes dance studios, music practice rooms, fashion technology studios, a theatre marquee, a rooftop green space, and a 500-seat auditorium/theatre.
Tuesday’s milestone is a step toward completing the city’s $1 billion BuildBPS strategy, a 10-year education and facilities master plan, according to a press release from Walsh’s office.
City Council President Kim Janey, soon-to-be acting mayor, said the arts are important for students’ social development and critical thinking, and she’s proud that the city is making an investment in arts education.
“For far too long, the arts have been treated as an afterthought or an add-on, but with this investment, we will have a brand-new state-of-the-art facility, and we are demonstrating our strong commitment to arts and education,” she said.
Anne Clark, Boston Arts Academy’s head of school, joked when she took the podium Tuesday that she was the most emotional speaker. She called Tuesday a “beautiful moment.”
“Today as we place the final steel beam that completes our school structure, we celebrate this world-class art facility, not only for our current students, but for our alumni, our families, our supporters, for the entire city of Boston, for Boston Public Schools as a whole, and for all the youth in Boston who are passionate about the arts,” she said.
She continued: “This new building will ensure that BAA will continue to be a place of opportunity for Boston’s next generation of creative changemakers for many, many years to come.”