Meetings will be held from 6-7:30pm with registration beginning at 5:30pm.
February 6: Alexander Wilson School (meeting at Lea Elementary, 4700 Locust St.)
February 10: William Harrison School (meeting at Dunbar School, 1750 N. 12th St.)
February 11: Anna Shaw School (meeting at Shaw School, 5400 Warrington Ave.)
February 26: University City, Drew, Walnut Center buildings (meeting at West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut St)
[UPDATED 2/12/14: The meeting about University City/Drew/Walnut Center scheduled for February 5, rescheduled for February 12 has again been rescheduled. It is now planned for February 26.]
The School District of Philadelphia shuttered 30 schools since 2012 and now, as part of efforts to dig out of a dire financial crisis, 28 vacant schools are being offered for sale and reuse. First up: seven of the District’s most desirable surplus properties, which are slated for expedited sale. Starting last week the School District began hosting informational community meetings for each of those schools.
The meeting on Wednesday, February 26 (twice rescheduled due to weather) centers on one of the District’s most enticing sites for would-be developers: the 14-acre superblock in University City containing Charles Drew Elementary, University City High and the Walnut Center preschool in University City.
On Thursday, February 6 the spotlight is on Alexander Wilson Elementary School in Squirrel Hill. Meetings next week will focus on Kingsessing’s Anna Shaw Middle School and William Harrison Elementary in Ludlow. (The meeting for Stephen Douglas High in Olde Richmond was last week.)
In November the District put out a Request for Qualification for these seven schools individually, and will consider selling the consolidated University City/Drew/Walnut Center property as a whole. The District also solicited Expressions of Interest for the other 21 schools that were closed in recent years.
By the end of its fiscal year the School District needs to raise at least $61 million from the sale of its properties this fiscal year to meet its already tight budget, including $50 million borrowed from the City this fall.
Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.