By John Lynds
At a recent community meeting Excel Academy Charter School Executive Director Owen Stearns laid out the school’s plans to add a small addition onto Excel High School on Bremen Street.
The addition, according to Stearns, will not add more students due to the state’s cap on charter school seats, but will simply give the school some more space for the current eleventh grade class when they become seniors next year.
“We have been here for a year,” said Stearns. “Currently we serve grades 9 through 11 and next year we will be at full capacity. The addition we are planning will give next year’s senior class more classroom and flex space as they take electives and advanced placement classes.”
Stearns said the plan is to add 2,500 sq. ft. on the back of the building near the East Boston Greenway, which will result in roughly only a 10 percent increase in the building’s overall size. Stearns and the architects for the project said the addition will align the right side of the high school with the school’s gymnasium on the left side, bringing both wings of the school closer to the Greenway in the back.
“At the end of the day it (the addition) will look like the rest of the school,” said Stearns. “It will have the same building materials, same windows, same colors.”
Stearns said there will be no disruption to the Greenway or Greenway access. There was some concerns of runoff from the building due to flooding problems along the Greenway closer to Jeffries Point and the school’s close proximity to the neighborhood park system. However, the school, which is LEED certified, uses a system of storm water storage that traps that slowly release storm water from the building after heavy rain.
Other than those concerns, there was little if any community resistance to the planned expansion.
“In the end, we just want to make sure we have enough space to serve our students,” said Stearns.
Formerly the site of Paul’s Park and Fly, the last of the park and fly companies that once dotted Bremen Street, the $25 million Excel High School was built on stretch of land that now includes a state of the art library and the sprawling 18-acre Bremen Street Park and opened last year.
The 70,000 sq. ft. facility consists of 35 classrooms for grades 9-12 at the site located at 413 Bremen St. The new two-acre campus includes the main building, community rooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium, office space, and support space. The school also includes a 30-car pick up and drop off area, a dedicated bus pull off area, a 50-space parking lot for faculty and visitors, and a 24,100 square foot outdoor student courtyard.