Page images



been contracted out during the last few weeks of the City Government of 1890, on the credit of appropriations furnished that year. These buildings were finished and turned over to the School Committee during the year 1892.

Several buildings were also under construction for the Fire Department, all of which were finished during the year 1891; namely, Engine-house Nos. 38 and 39, on Congress street; Ladder-house No. 17, on Harrison avenue; Enginehouse No. 9, in East Boston; Engine-house No. 44, at Allston; and Engine-house No. 22, at Egleston square. The money for these buildings had been appropriated prior to 1891. There was also an appropriation of $165,000 for a building for the Fire Department headquarters, for which no site had been procured.

On March 30, 1891, the City Architect was removed, and a new appointment made. For the reasons necessitating a complete reorganization of this department, and for an account of the results accomplished, reference is made to the proceedings of the Board of Aldermen of March 30, 1891; to a special message, dated September 24, 1891, concerning certain changes in the Architect Department (Doc. 136 of that year); to a special message, dated October 31, 1892, on the past and present management of the Architect Department (Doc. 181 of that year); and to the annual reports of the department for the years 1891, 1892, and 1893.

During the four years commencing January 1, 1891, besides the buildings just enumerated, finished, with the exception of the Roxbury High School, out of appropriations voted by preceding City Councils, appropriations for new buildings, aggregating nearly four and a half million dollars, have been made, partly from taxes, but principally from loans, as follows: $1,958,111.22 for school-houses and sites; $1,096,320.29 for the new buildings of the City Hospital; $100,000 for the city nurseries; $56,702.18 for the quarantine) hospital and disinfecting plant of the Board of Health; $907,500 for land and buildings for the Department of Public Institutions; $205,511.97 for land and buildings for the Fire Department; $72,092.78 for land

Building Operations.


and buildings for the Police Department; and $83,900 for land and buildings for the Ferry Department.

With these appropriations the following work has been accomplished: eleven primary school-houses of brick, accommodating 3,976 pupils, three wooden primaries, accommodating 672 pupils, and three grammar schoolhouses, accommodating 1,568 pupils, have been finished; a grammar school-house, accommodating 672 pupils, is still under construction; and work is soon to be begun upon a primary school-house accommodating 504 pupils, and two grammar school-houses, accommodating 1,680 pupils. The fifteen primary schools will accommodate 5,152 pupils, while the six grammar schools will accommodate 3,920 pupils. A mechanic arts high school has also been built, and a new high school is under construction. For the City Hospital, an ambulance stable and a boiler-house have been built; a separate hospital for contagious diseases has been substantially completed, and will be ready for occupation during the month of March, 1895; a group of buildings for pathological purposes, consisting of a two-story laboratory, a chapel, and a morgue, are now being plastered; and a new surgical ward and a practically new operating building have been begun making a total of fourteen buildings provided for the City Hospital. For the Board of Health, four buildings have been erected on Gallop's Island, and two on Swett street. For the Department of Public Institutions, a combination chapel, dining-hall, and domestic building, a combination boiler-house and laundry, and three dormitories accommodating 203 patients, have been erected at Austin Farm; a domestic building and two dormitories accommodating 178 patients have been erected at Pierce Farm; a boiler-house, barn, women's dormitory accommodating 320 inmates, and a hospital consisting of three buildings or wards accommodating 300 patients, have been erected at Long Island; 312 new cells have been added to the House of Industry, at Deer Island; a boiler-house

[ocr errors]



and domestic building and a dormitory accommodating 52 boys have been erected for the Parental School, in West Roxbury; making a total of about 15 new buildings for this department. For the Fire Department there has been constructed upon a lot purchased on Bristol street a building for a department headquarters, fire-alarm service, watertower, practice tower, and a boiler-house; an engine and ladder-house at Andrew square, South Boston; an enginehouse at Ashmont; and a ladder-house on Friend street; besides which Hose-house No. 7 has been completely remodelled; and Engine-house No. 27 is being rebuilt. For the Police Department a station and court-house has been built at Brighton, and an annex for court and patrol-wagon has been made to Station 13, Ward 23. For the Park Department a pier head-house at Marine Park and an athletic house on the Charlesbank are being built.

The total amount expended upon the buildings in charge of the City Architect between May 1, 1891, and December 31, 1894, has been $2,999,898.47. The expenses of the department, including all sums charged to the special appropriations for the several buildings for inspectors, watchmen, experts, etc., have been $93,420.25, which is 31 per cent. upon the expenditures for construction. This percentage may be contrasted with the corresponding figures for previous periods in the history of the department; the cost of the department from 1874 to 1889 having been 63 per cent., and for 1889 and 1890, 10% per cent., of the expenditures for construction.1


In respect to methods of construction, more substantial and less easily combustible buildings have been necessitated by the new building law; the cubic contents of each schoolroom have been increased; special attention has been paid to heating and ventilation; and many novel methods have been adopted, in some cases invented, particularly in the hospitals at Long Island and Austin and Pierce Farms.

As to the relative cost of the new buildings, a comparison is difficult, except in the matter of school-houses, which in a

1 See Doc. 136 of 1891.

[ocr errors]



general way furnish a substantially accurate basis. The twelve brick primaries provided during the last four years accommodate 4,480 pupils, and have cost $134 per pupil and $3.21 per square foot of finished floor area ; while the seven primaries built during the period immediately preceding the present administration — that is, between 1881 and 1891 accommodate 3,472 pupils, and cost $119 per pupil and $3.20 per square foot of finished floor area. As to the grammar school-houses, the six constructed under the plans of the present City Architect will accommodate 3,920 pupils, and will have cost about $137 per pupil and $2.83 per foot of finished floor area; while the last six grammar school-houses built under the former system,namely, the Martin, Minot, O'Brien, Thomas N. Hart, Henry L. Pierce, and Bowditch grammar school-houses, -erected between 1885 and 1891, accommodate 4,032 pupils, and cost $158 per pupil and $3.08 per foot of finished floor area. The Brighton High School-house will cost about $130,000, or $2.79 per finished foot of floor area, while the next preceding high school built in this city namely, the Roxbury High-cost $4.61 per finished foot of floor area. The twelve brick primaries provided during the last four years give an average of 618 cubic feet per pupil at a cost of 21 cents per cubic foot; while the seven brick primaries built in the period preceding gave 575 cubic feet per pupil at a cost of 21 cents per cubic foot. The three wooden primaries of the latter period, when compared with the seven wooden primaries of the earlier period, result as follows: for each pupil 672 cubic feet to 445 cubic feet, at a cost of 15 cents to 13 cents per cubic foot. The six grammar schoolhouses of the present Architect give to each pupil 702 cubic feet, at a cost of 17 cents per cubic foot; while the last six built, prior to 1891, gave to each pupil 710 cubic feet, at a cost of 19 cents per cubic foot. The cost of the Brighton High School will not exceed 18 cents per cubic foot, while the cost per cubic foot of the Roxbury High was 26 cents. In interpreting these comparisons account must be taken



of the vastly more substantial construction of the new buildings and of the more elaborate arrangements for heating and ventilation.

A completely new system of contract forms has been adopted in this department (as also in the Street Department and the City Engineer's office), and has proved a great protection to the city in its works of construction.

The results obtained by this department have been secured at probably less cost than in private work. This is due not simply to the saving of about two per cent. in the professional expenses involved, but to the fact that by a by a fair and inflexible treatment of the business of the office the most responsible bidders have been induced to compete for the contracts advertised by the department. The city enjoys in some respects an advantage over private owners in its building operations, as no private citizen, however wealthy, keeps a daily bank balance amounting to millions of dollars; and a city contractor knows that as soon as his payments are certified, the money can be had without any of the delays which, under the most favorable circumstances, are incident to private work. Moreover, in work for the city, the contractor has practically only one man to deal with,the City Architect, while in private work there is the owner as well. Finally, the city is protected as, under the decisions of the courts, no private owner can be, against extortionate and fraudulent claims for extras. The contract law of 18901 practically prohibits all claims against the city for extras or work of any kind, unless evidenced by a written instrument signed by the City Architect, or the head of some other department, and approved by the Mayor. I consider this one of the most valuable laws ever placed upon the statute books of the Commonwealth; and to it, as well as to the other considerations here suggested, — particularly to the scrupulous fairness with which the business of the office has been administered, I attribute the fact that 1St. 1890, ch. 418, §§ 4 to 6.

« PreviousContinue »