Chapter 473 of the Acts of 1901 established in the City of Boston a Schoolhouse Department under the charge of a board of three Commissioners appointed by the Mayor without confirmation. The authority and duties of the board were those formerly conferred and imposed upon the City Council and the School Committee in relation to selecting lands for school purposes and requesting the Street Commissioners to take the same, providing temporary school accommodations, and making, altering and approving designs and plans for school purposes; erecting, completing, altering, repairing, furnishing, and preparing yards for school buildings and making contracts and selecting architects for doing said work. The board was also required to take measures to secure proper ventilation, proper sanitary conditions, and protection from fire for existing school buildings. Annual reports were first made in 1901.
Chapter 351 of the Acts of 1929, “An Act to establish a board of commissioners of school buildings and a department of school buildings in the City of Boston” was accepted by the voters at the City Election held 5 Nov 1929. By the provisions of the Act, the board consisted of three citizens of Boston who otherwise were neither officials nor employees of said city, one appointed by the Mayor without approval of the civil service commissioners, one by the School Committee and one chosen by the two appointed or appointed by the Governor if the appointees fail to choose a commissioner within thirty days after the second appointed. By Section 2 of the Act, the Department of School Buildings was established under the charge of a Superintendent of Construction who was elected by the Board of Commissioners, to serve at the pleasure of the board. Upon the election of a Superintendent of Construction, the Board of Schoolhouse Commissioners and the Schoolhouse Department were abolished.
Chapter 642 of the Acts of 1966 established the Public Facilities Department for the more efficient and economical construction and alterations of municipal buildings. The Department of School Buildings was abolished and its functions in part were transferred to the Public Facilities Department and to the School Committee. The School Committee had the exclusive power and authority to perform necessary alterations, maintenance and repairs of public school buildings and their yards and furnishings.