Brooke Charter Looking to Expand Footprint of Horace Street Building

At Monday night’s Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) meeting, Brooke Charter School COO Mark Loring pitched the school’s plans to expand the footprint of its Horace Street building into the small courtyard between the existing school building and a residential home at 84 Horace St. The courtyard also abuts several rear yards of homes along Bennington Street.

“We’re looking at doing a slight addition into the rear of our building,” said Loring Monday night. “We are in a very early phase of this discussion and just wanted to share. I gave a very brief update at the last HVNA meeting and have just a little bit more information to share.”

Loring said the paved courtyard that is behind the building is currently used for storage.

“We have a shed back there where we keep a snowblower and that’s about it,” said Loring. “We’re hoping to enclose that (courtyard) and continue the building in that back area and have it match the rest of the building.”

Loring said this would allow the Brooke to add more indoor classroom space and additional programming.

“We’re still trying to figure out programming where we put everything,” said Loring. “It will either be two classrooms or a larger music space or some offices for special education teachers to support students. Those are still internal conversations and we are in the early stages of a feasibility study that a group did for us to kind of let us think about what we might be able to put there if we’re lucky enough to move forward with the project.”

Loring explained the Brooke has five schools spread over four campuses but Eastie remains the smallest campus in the Brooke family of schools.

“Naturally we kind of have been dealing with the space we have and we’re always looking for ways of improving programming, expanding programming, improving the educational experience for the kids at our school,” said Loring. “We have been trying to be creative internally with ways and this project has been on our mind for a while and now we have the resources to potentially do it.”

However, not everyone at Monday night’s meeting was crazy about the idea, especially the school’s direct abutter on Horace Street who said she enjoys not only the courtyard buffer between her home and the school but also the aesthetics of having that buffer.

“I hate to see you filling in that courtyard,” she said. “I’m right next door and I love to see the kids in the courtyard sometimes and I call them my neighbors. They all know who I am. I love having them there and I’d hate to see you fill it in with a building.”

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