PlanPhilly

From Portland, cues for Philly school-building reuse

The halls of Portland's Kennedy School are alive with faces. Former students peer down from class photos, and alumni smile from newspaper clippings mounted along corridors leading to the principal's office and auditorium.

There hasn't been a student enrolled at The Kennedy School since 1979, but the tidy campus tucked into the corner of a Northeast Portland neighborhood is alive with activity year-round. The 1915 Spanish-style school building was converted to a hotel complex in 1997 by Oregon's McMenamin brothers, after sitting empty and at risk of demolition for years.

With Philadelphia beginning to seriously consider what will become of dozens of former school buildings here, the Kennedy School and the McMenamins' other adaptive reuse projects, ranging from grand hotels to small local churches, are worth a look.

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About the author

Amy Z. Quinn, NewsWorks Northwest reporter

Amy Z. Quinn developed an interest in planning and land use while covering rapidly-developing South Jersey suburbs for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and later wrote extensively about urban and beachfront redevelopment for the Asbury Park Press.

Over more than 15 years of local reporting, opinion writing and blogging, Amy has cultivated a distinctive voice and desire to get right to the heart of an issue. She also trains tomorrow's news professionals as a popular journalism instructor at several area universities. 
 
A Manayunk native now living in an average suburban development, Amy covers Northwest Philly as part of PlanPhilly's partnership with WHYY's NewsWorks.


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