By Dan Murphy
When Simon Ho retired from his role as principal of the Josiah Quincy Elementary School last June, he expressed his desire that its Abraham Lincoln Building would again serve as an elementary school and envisioned expanding kindergarten and early grades for the school at that site.
Located at Arlington and Fayette streets in Bay Village, the 72,244 square-foot Lincoln Building was built in 1911. It functioned as an elementary school until it was combined with the Quincy School in 1976, and currently accommodates the Josiah Quincy Upper School. The Massachusetts School Building Authority began exploring merging the Quincy Upper School with Boston Arts Academy three years ago, and a potential site for the new school has reportedly been located in Chinatown.
Ania Camargo, a founding member of Downtown Schools for Boston – a group of 500 parents and other advocates working to add and expand public elementary schools in the downtown neighborhoods – believes that the Lincoln Building would be the ideal location for a K-8 school.
“Most importantly, it is adjacent to a number of neighborhoods which need more quality school seats – the Back Bay, Bay Village, Chinatown and the South End – as well as being within reach of Beacon Hill, Downtown Crossing, Roxbury and Fort Point,” Camargo wrote. “A school at that location could serve many Boston children, with a diversity of ethnic and economic backgrounds that truly reflects our city’s residents.”
Camargo added, “Given the incredible challenge of locating sites, having a site the City of Boston already controls makes this achievable without long delays. Families living in our neighborhoods today might be able to send their children to this school, rather than being forced to leave the city due to the lack of schools.”
Meanwhile, the city is currently undertaking “Build BPS: A 10-year Master Plan,” which will include assessments of each Boston Public Schools building. The report is scheduled for release later this year.