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of new school-houses, there can be no real necessity, after nearly $2,500,000 has been appropriated in five years, for an immediate expenditure of $2,500,000 more. The reasonable annual needs of the School Department in the matter of new buildings, whether they are from $200,000 to $300,000, as estimated by the School Committees of 1890 and 1891, or even greater, can readily be met by appropriations within the debt limit. The first thing for the School Committee to do is to scrutinize more carefully the local demands for new school-houses, and to recommend only those which are really needed; the last thing is to petition the Legislature for authority to borrow money outside of the debt limit for any ordinary runicipal purpose such as the construction and equipment of school-houses; and the Legislature of 1895 will do well to follow the example of that of 1890 and refuse the application. The present borrowing capacity is $2,509,074.35; and from two to two and a half miliion dollars can be borrowed every year within the debt limit.
SECTION 2. Public Libraries. Of these there are eleven: the original building upon Boylston street, built in 1855-7, at a cost, including land, of about $365,000; nine branches in different parts of the city, namely, Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, and the South End; and a building recently purchased upon Cambridge street for 8 West End branch.1 There are also thirteen suburban delivery stations.
The building on Dartmouth street, which is soon to replace that upon Boylston street, is nearly completed; it has cost more than double the original estimate; and the accommodations afforded by it are not considered by the best judges to be commensurate with its size and cost. It is rather a palace for books than a working library for the people. Upon entering office in 1891, I found,
The Old West Church, bought in 1894, at a cost of $55,000.
however, that the building had progressed so far in all its structural features as to be incapable of radical change; and the only thing to do was to see that it was built within the additional appropriation voted that year. This, I think, will be accomplished.1
The building operations of the city, as conducted in January, 1891, consisted of the Suffolk County Court House, in charge of a special commission; of the new Public Library on Dartmouth street, which was being constructed by the Trustees of the Public Library; and of certain buildings upon the parks, in charge of the Board of Park Commissioners; while the while the remaining buildings then under construction were in charge of the City Architect.
SECTION 1. The Suffolk County Court House. This building, begun in 1887, has been finished, occupied, and turned over to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, under the provisions of a special law. The cost of the building, including site and furnishings, has been $3,828,601.80, all procured by loans. The new building covers $7,000 square feet, or over four times the space covered by the buildings which it was intended to supersede. Notwithstanding this enormous increase in area and the great sum of money spent upon the building, it is already crowded, and at some not distant day additional accommodations will be necessary.
SECTION 2. The New Public Library. This building was begun in 1886 on land partly given by the State and in part purchased by the city. After some money had been spent in the execution of plans prepared by the then City Architect, the Trustees decided to discontinue the work and to secure the services of one of the leading architectural firms in the country. Begun again in May, 1888, under plans furnished by the new architects, the work had progressed
1 Stat. 1894, chap. 453.
* Of this amount, $521,000 has been borrowed since January 1, 1891.
so far by 1891 that all the structural parts of the building were practically complete and many of its decorative features fixed by contract.
It was apparent, however, that the building would cost very much more than the original estimates, and more than the amounts appropriated by the City Council, which up to January 1, 1891, aggregated $1,654,000.1 An act was accordingly procured from the Legislature of 1891,2 and accepted by the City Council, authorizing the city to borrow an additional million dollars outside of the debt limit for the completion of the building.3
Before any further contracts were let under the new appropriation, it seemed prudent to call a halt and ascertain, with as much accuracy as possible, exactly what it would cost to finish the building, and also to see that it was completed in the manner provided for the construction of public works by the contract law of 1890; that is, by means of a few large contracts, let by competition. This investigation covered a period of several months, and resulted, late in 1892, in the signing of contracts for the essential completion of the building for about $200,000 less than the appropriation. This surplus has since been utilized for paintings and other decorative features, which could never have been procured if the former methods had been permitted to continue, without still further appropriations.4
The building is now nearly completed; the books are being removed to it from the old library; and the Trustees expect that it will be thrown open for public use in a few weeks. There still remains to the credit of the building an unexpended appropriation of $303,590.49, which ought to be sufficient to complete it.
The result of this undertaking as a whole will be that at a cost for land and building, including the abortive construc
1 Of which $1,000,000 had been borrowed outside the debt limit.
2 St. 1891, ch. 324.
3 Of which $800,000 has been borrowed since January 1, 1891, and $200,000 remains still to be issued. Total loans issued for the library since January 1; 1891, $989,000
* For a fuller account of this matter, see Doc. 186, of 1892.
tion of 1886, of about $2,650,000, the city will have a public library the conveniences of which will be much greater than those of the present building, though much less than could have been secured from a different and wiser planning, - and which is conceded to be in some respects one of the finest examples of modern public architecture in the country.
SECTION 3. Buildings on the Parks. The practice of the Board of Park Commissioners has generally been to employ private architects to prepare, at the usual professional rates, plans and specifications for, and superintend the construction of, the various buildings erected on the parks. Two buildings were under construction on January 1, 1891, and have since been finished; nine others have been begun and completed during the past four years; and two more are now in process of construction.
This completes the list of buildings actually needed for the popular use of the park system, and when those now under construction are completed the city will have upon its parks thirteen buildings, which will have cost about $375,000.
SECTION 4. The Architect Department. This department has charge of the general building operations of the city, including school-houses and buildings for the fire, police, and other departments. It was established in 1874, prior to which time private architects had been employed by the various committees having charge of the buildings.
On the first of January, 1891, the work of the department was in the following condition: The Roxbury High School, begun in 1887, was still uncompleted and the appropriation exhausted. The sum of $87,000 was contained in the loan order of January 26, 1891; and with this appropriation the building was finished and turned over to the School Committee on October 1, 1892. Two grammar school-houses (the Henry L. Pierce school-house, in Dorchester, and the Bowditch school-house, in Jamaica Plain) and two primary school-houses (the Prince school-house, on St. Botolph street, and the Adams school-house, in East Boston) had