Edwards Middle being assessed for temporary use by Horace Mann School for the Deaf

Boston Public Schools (BPS) is working closely with an architect to determine whether the former Edwards Middle School would be a good fit for temporary swing space to accommodate the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HMS) – that happening while the HMS school community looks for a new home after the proposed closure of their Allston complex.
That comes in direct conflict of what many parents in Charlestown had understood and hoped for in the future of the Edwards, with it quickly being renovated and converted into elementary or pre-K educational space to ease the squeeze on the Town’s three, highly-sought elementary schools.
BPS said this week that they have recommended the HMS complex in Allston close after the 2021-22 school year, and the Edwards is one of a few facilities across the city that are being considered to temporarily house HMS while they wait for a more permanent home.
BPS did have a meeting on the matter in June with the HMS and Charlestown communities, and following that meeting they engaged with an architect to look at a few different option. That work, BPS said, still continues.
“We continue to work closely with the Horace Mann community to ensure the swing space meets the needs of HMS’s specialized population,” said spokesman Xavier Andrews. “We will continue our engagement with the HMS community and provide a broader update once we have completed the work with the architects. As mentioned during our last community meeting, we will continue to engage with both the Charlestown community and the Horace Mann community before moving forward with any decisions around the utilization of the Edwards building.”
The long-term plan for the Edwards, however, has not changed according to BPS. There is still money in the capital budget for the conversion of the school to meet Charlestown student needs, and that wouldn’t change even if HMS needs to land at the Edwards as swing space.
“We have heard from the Charlestown community that they are interested in additional elementary space in the neighborhood, particularly to expand access to our high quality Pre-K program,” said Andrews. “This remains a shared goal for the Superintendent, as part of the BuildBPS plan, and we are evaluating all proposals in light of that goal. We anticipate being able to add K0 and K1 seats through these projects.”
There is still funding in the capital budget to work with an architecture firm to convert the Edwards building into elementary school space. This could be for either upper elementary grades (e.g. 4-6) or an early childhood center (K0-3), Andrews said.
“We will work with the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, an educational programmer and a team of consultants to assess the optimal use of the building,” he said. “Our plan is to work with them to continue engagement with the Charlestown community throughout all phases of the project.”

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