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Dorchester charter school plans expansion

Neighborhood House Charter School expansion rendering

Architect's rendering.

Neighborhood House Charter School has filed plans with the BPDA to add 12 classrooms and a gym in a three-story extension to its Queen Street school.

The school, one of the oldest charter schools in the state, says its expanding number of students means the current building on its 2.3-acre site at 21 Queen St. is no longer big enough.

The school plans to finance the roughly $12-million project through a combination of fundraising and borrowing. It hopes to begin construction in March of next year, with the new space ready for students by the end of June, 2021.

Currently, NHCS faces several challenges regarding the 21 Queen Street property. The building is not large enough to house the 8th grade, causing them to be located off-site approximately one mile away. The building has several smaller classrooms where columns obscure instructional sightlines. The building has no indoor recreation space. When weather prevents students from playing outside, recess and physical education take place in hallways – which is both limiting to students and distracting to instructional settings nearby. Current parking is tight, and several staff routinely park on residentials streets nearby, frustrating neighbors. Finally, current traffic queuing during drop-off and dismissal times create challenging situations for the nearby residents.

Neighborhood House, which started in 1995 with 51 students, today has a total of 650 students, a number it plans to increase to 828, following state approval three years ago to open a high school. The first high-school seniors are expected to graduate in 2021.

Neighborhood House Charter School Queen Street expansion small-project review application (4.3M PDF).

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Comments

I am very excited to read the school's plans. I have seen this school's success stories first hand. I mentored a young man who attended Neighborhood House Charter School. Previously he struggled in a public school where he lacked support. He didn't want to do to school anymore. After switching to Neighborhood House he began looking forward to school days. The support from staff, teachers, and a more pleasant learning environment completely transformed his view on school.

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Voting closed 12

Isn't that the Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn School?

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The proposed expansion of the existing building requires several variances and would create an unsafe situation for those kids. It is on a hill connected to main roads by one way streets. It is not easy to get ambulance or fire up there, and more kids make it more dangerous.

I can't believe they are going to rip out the sundial. The amazing view will be wiped out by this plan. The will also be cutting down a pear tree from the original estate/farm on this spot. More parking is not needed. This area doesn't have residential parking and all the teachers leave by the time we come home from work. The existing parking lot is only full from 7am to 4pm on school days. Its a waste of green space that according to this plan will be asphalt. The problem with traffic is allowing parents to drive kids to school. If i pay taxes for buses then why are parents allowed to clog up the streets every day? You can't have both.

This is a good school but they should move. Verizon has a huge empty building at Adams and Robinson they were trying to rent. it has 84,660.00 sq ft inside. A small lot has a some verizon cars, but there is huge empty asphalt lot decaying on Robinson Street. In 2016, several floors of the verizon building at 8 Harrison Ave in chinatown was developed into housing. The school would stay in Dorchester. win win

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You may very well be right overall here but this factoid tells us nothing since it applies to basically all construction in Boston:

The proposed expansion of the existing building requires several variances

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I am right, feel free to check. The thing is that I don't need judge each required variance to say that overall its too much. This building is already the largest building on the hill. It is right at the top. Is the overall public good much affected by the people on N. Munroe Terrace that will lose their view of the Pru and/or the Gas tank? The building was expanded 10 years ago. The proposed expansion will provide space for the current students to grade 12, along with new students at the current enrollment levels. That means they will be full again when this building is completed. Whatever the variances are, its is not a good value in exchange.

It is a good school but they need to split the grades and/or find another building. I know they are just trees, but they are beautiful big old trees. And that pear tree! it is horribly neglected.

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I agree with the sentiment above especially about the traffic, safety, school bus logistics and lack of green space. I think there are other opportunities in Dorchester for an expansion, a la Boston Collegiate Charter, by maybe keep the original building a K-6/K-8 format and finding a HS location.

I also live a block away from the school and was never notified about this expansion plan. Other neighbors that have requested variances for construction projects to their homes have come and talked to us face to face. A project of this size should have required greater neighborhood input than just the direct abutters. Even if just to be polite so I don't have to read about it on UniversalHub.

Regarding Pope's Hill and parking, I would like to see the neighborhood become a resident sticker area. There are license plates from states like Kansas, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and even Alaska. Never mind all the cars still registered at mom & dad's house in Weymouth, Foxboro, Marshfield, etc (when I have seen your car for over year in the neighborhood and you have a 2018 town beach/dump/resident sticker from on your car, it is kind of a give-away). I believe it is only fair that if you want to have the luxury of owning a car in the city, you should have to register it in the city.

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one consequence of failing to register your car where you live is getting your insurance claim denied. It happened to a friend years ago, when his window was broken.

I do have a sticker, but I would rather they did not rip out the green island in the parking lot. If all the surrounding streets become resident, then the pressure will force the issue even if the expansion is blocked. The parking isn't that bad, if I can always see my car from my window. If we do it, perhaps just for overnight? I really love the view from that sundial. Plus it looks like the playground will become a gym.

By the way, the verizon building won't work. I emailed and they say the aren't looking for tenant because of all the fios work. The building still does not look remotely full. Its too bad, the view from the top floors is probably spectacular.

As for proper notice, I got a flyer stuck in my door. Unfortunately, I have been out of state for every meeting. The next one is 3/6/19.
Leahy Holloran Community Center
1 Worrell Street
Dorchester, MA 02122
Time: 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects

if you go to this link you can search all construction projects.

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