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New home for Boston’s furniture school

The North Bennet Street School, a launching pad for some of the finest trained furniture makers out of New England, recently moved and expanded to a new facility in the North End of Boston. The move allows the school to combine all of its classes into one building.

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Established in 1885, the school offers intensive, hands-on training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship. It has full-time programs and workshops in bookbinding, cabinet and furniture making, carpentry, jewelry making and repair, locksmithing, piano technology, preservation carpentry and violin making and repair.

For the first time in decades, the school now has space for the entire school to gather, enhancing the educational experience for students and strengthening the sense of community.

“For the woodworking programs, the most significant thing this new facility does is bring all programs back together in one building. Since 2006, our carpentry and carpentry preservation programs have been at a satellite facility in Arlington, Mass., while our furniture making programs have been at our former facility in the North End. Now we have eight full programs, including four that work with wood, in one building. The collaboration is significant for providing a richer student experience,” says Nancy Jenner, the school’s director of communications.

The 65,000-sq.-ft. facility opened in September. The school’s recently completed capital campaign raised more than $17 million to purchase and renovate the new building.

“The success of this project was the result of the coordinated efforts of a large team of specialists working together and each counting on others to fill in critical parts of the puzzle. We now have a larger school where we can run public workshops in addition to our full-time programs. The whole building creates an added sense of community for students and staff,” school president Miguel Gomez-Ibanez says.

North Bennet’s former home, traded to the city as part of the purchase agreement, will be used to expand Boston’s public John Eliot School.

Contact: North Bennet Street School, 150 North St., Boston, MA 02109. Tel: 617-227-0155.

This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue.

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