Boston Arts Academy Breaks Ground on New $125 Million Facility

The groundbreaking for the Boston Arts Academy’s new $125 million facility at 145 Ipswich St. was commemorated during a ceremony Tuesday.

“I am thankful, I am honored, and I am thrilled,” said Anne Clarke, BAA headmaster. “This building is certainly the realization of a dream from our alumni, our faculty staff, and our students, and also for the City of Boston. [It] will ensure that Boston Arts Academy will continue to be a place of opportunity for years to come.”

The five-story building will include a 500-seat theater with an orchestra pit; recording dance studios; a black box theater; soundproof instrumental practice-rooms; and a gymnasium.

Denella Clark, principal, said the BAA had a deal on the table with Mayor Martin Walsh’s predecessor, Thomas Menino, five years ago when Walsh assumed office, but Walsh convinced the school to hold out for a more beneficial offer. “We trusted you, and now, we have the building that the students deserve,” she said.

Meanwhile, Denella Clark said Quincy-based general contractor Lee Kennedy Co. Inc. has set aside 174 bricks to commemorate the project, which were individually numbered and priced at $500 a piece. Anne Clark, headmaster, bought Brick #1 while Denella Clark bought Brick #174 to symbolize the completion of the cycle.

Mayor Martin Walsh, who purchased Brick #33, said, “This is a proud day for Boston Arts Academy, the Fenway neighborhood and the entire City of Boston. This takes this vibrant new school to a whole new level.

“This is a 21st century model for education in this building…and we’re just scratching the surface,” Walsh said, adding that the project is part of a $1 billion investment being made in the city’s public schools.

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg said, “This is such a key to learning. It’s a pathway to success, and Boston is going to shine when this building opens.”

Goldberg said she purchased Brick #18, since the number symbolizes “life” in the Hebrew language, and dedicated it in honor of her parents.

Lee Pelton, BAA board chair and president of Emerson College, was also among the ceremony speakers.

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