Construction on the new Boston Arts Academy (BAA) building is back in full swing, despite having to take a nearly 9 week hiatus due to COVID-19 orders from the City and State.
The Sun spoke with Lee Michael Kennedy of Lee Kennedy Co. Inc. to find out more about the status of the project.
As previously reported by the Sun, the state-of-the-art school building will be five stories tall, and include dance studios, a black box theater, a gymnasium, a 500 seat theater, recording studios, and much more. BAA is the only high school in the City focusing on visual and performing arts, and as one of the project’s big supporters, Mayor Walsh has expressed his excitement and pride for the project many times over the past couple of years.
The $125 million project broke ground on October 16, 2018, and was originally expected to be fully finished and open for classes by fall of 2021.
Construction updates have been provided to the surrounding community over the past two years, but the pandemic has caused the project to fall a little bit behind schedule.
Kennedy said that before the COVID shutdown, the construction of the building was about 25-30 percent complete. He said that construction ceased the week of March 15, and did not resume again until mid-May, when Mayor Walsh allowed construction to resume for places like hospitals, public schools, small residential buildings, and other open air work.
No construction work at all happened in those weeks in between, he said.
Prior to the shutdown, the work had been focused on the foundation and structure, including the steel and concrete frame structure, which has now resumed construction. Kennedy said that the work on the structure is “nearing completion in another month or so.”
He said he could not speak on whether or not the setback will affect the opening date, as they are “working with the City to see what we can do.”
In the coming weeks and months, he said neighbors can expect to see a continuation of work on the structure, and once that is completed, work on the building envelope will commence to enclose the building. This is the work that will continue for the remainder of the year and into the first quarter of next year, he said.
“It’s been a great project with really tremendous partnerships,” Kennedy said, adding that the BAA team, the City of Boston, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), and others have “really worked hard and worked well together on this very complex project.”
Despite the schedule being pushed back, he said he’s excited for the final product and all eyes remain on the prize.
“I envision a very successful project,” he said. “It’s going to be a wonderful building; a treasure for the neighborhood and the City.”