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CITY OF BOSTON.
IN COMMON COUNCIL, May 9, 1872. The Joint Standing Committee on Public Instruction, to whom was referred the request of the School Committee, that the City Council would purchase a suitable lot of land on Warren avenue, as a site for a new building for the English High School, having carefully considered the subject, beg leave to submit the following
The average number of pupils belonging to the English High School at the present time is five hundred and forty. Of these, seven classes are accommodated in the schoolhouse in Bedford street, and nine in the building on Mason street, formerly occupied by the Girls' High and Normal School. The Latin School contains about two hundred and twenty pupils. Seven classes are accommodated in the Bedford street school-house and two in the Primary School building on Harrison avenue. Four of the teachers in the High School, and two in the Latin School have to visit all the classes, and go back and forth between the buildings in which they are located. Besides the lack of suitable accommodations in the buildings now occupied, the locations are objectionable, for the reason that they are closely surrounded by business establishments, and the centre of population, from which pupils for these schools are furnished, has been removed to a point much further south. The building in
Bedford street was erected in the year 1844. The lot on which it stands covers an area of twelve thousand nine hundred and eighty square feet. Including the building, which can be moved to a suitable position, and adapted without much expense to business purposes, the value of the estate has been estimated by competent judges at fifteen dollars per foot; making the total value one hundred and ninety-four thousand seven hundred dollars. The building in Mason street was erected in 1848. The lot contains twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy one square feet, which is estimated at șix dollars per foot, making a total of seventysix thousand six hundred and twenty-six dollars. The building on Harrison avenue is used only for the two classes from the Latin School, and for a ward-room for Ward 5. When these classes are withdrawn, the property will be for sale, as accommodations for a ward-room can be furnished at small expense in some other locality. The value of this estate, covering five thousand five hundred and thirty-seven square feet, including the building, is estimated at ten dollars per foot, making the total fifty-five thousand three hundred and seventy dollars.
It appears, then, that the value of the lands and buildings occupied by these two schools amounts to three hundred and twenty-six thousand six hundred and ninety-six dollars. This is, of course, to be taken into account, in considering the expense of providing accommodations elsewhere.
Last year there was a difference of opinion between the two committees having charge of these schools, both in regard to the location and the character of the new buildings to be erected. After giving the subject very careful consideration this year, these committees, consisting of two representatives from each ward in the city, unite in recommending the selection of a lot on Warren avenue, between Dartinouth street and Clarendon street, of sufficient size to accommodate both these schools, either in one large build
ing, or in a group of buildings, opening on different streets. It was represented that such a course would not only be more economical than the selection of sites in different localities, but that it would have a beneficial influence, in many ways, upon the schools. In the Annual Report of the School Committee, recently published, the general features of the proposed plan are stated thus:
" There are many reasons why the two schools should be located near each other, occupying either wings of the same edifice or contiguous buildings in the same lot. Each school will require its separate rooms for daily occupancy, as well as separate yards. But it is no longer practicable to let the boys take their exercise upon the Common; the military drill is only an occasional resource, though it occupies quite enough of school hours, and a well-furnished gymnasium is greatly needed. Pupils will then be able to get their indispensable daily exercise with very little loss of time. One gymnasium will serve for both schools. Next, the military drill, if it is to be kept up, will require a hall. There is no probability that the new school-houses will be located where the use of a large room like Boylston Hall can be obtained. To give regularity to the drill a proper hall must be provided ; and for this purpose one hall will serve for both schools. The same may be said for the great hall that will be wanted for exhibitions and other public exercises, for the library, which is greatly needed for both schools, for cabinets of natural science, and philosophical apparatus. Thus it will be seen that three halls, for gymnasium, military drill, and for declamation, with other rooms enough to occupy one large building, will be wanted for either school singly, but will easily accommodate both under joint regulations.
The schools will also exert a salutary influence upon each other; there is no danger that the English High School will become too literary, or the Latin School too practical.