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The camp used student centred techniques to promote leadership awareness by building confidence and communication skills. The event was organised by Shaun McInerney, the Dean of Students and Studies, in order to share the Academy’s vision of education with a wider audience.
The Milton Moore School in Kansas City, one of 30 closed schools, has been successfully repurposed.
It’s hard to figure out a new use for just one historic building, but what if you were faced with finding new uses for 8, 25, or even… gasp…124 buildings? That’s the situation faced by the Tulsa, Pittsburgh, and Detroit school districts, according to a February 2013 report from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
I was lucky enough to hear one of the authors, Emily Dowdall, of Pew’s Philadelphia research initiative, give a preview of their findings at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in February. The situations Dowdall described were different from what I’d experienced—where walkable, neighborhood schools were closed in favor of a sprawling campus outside the town’s boundaries. These vacant schools are now up for sale (or lease in some cases) as school districts try to divest themselves of surplus property and find new ways to raise revenue. Researchers looked at the 267 properties that the 12 districts have sold, leased, or reused since 2005 in the hopes of providing “best practices” for the other 301 unused sites owned by these 12 districts that were still on the market. Although the districts hope the sale or lease of these closed schools will help alleviate their budget woes, the buildings frequently fail to bring in projected revenues. However, the increased growth in charters means fewer students are enrolled in the public school system, which in turn, leads to even more empty seats.
Because they are often located within residential neighborhoods and have complicated interiors thanks to additions over the years, the disposition of these schools requires creative thinking and marketing. I was glad to learn that historic tax credits, often combined with low-income housing tax credits, were playing a crucial role in making school reuse possible.

Schools anchor their local neighborhoods, and, as this report makes clear, they need effective policy, an engaged public, and creative ideas to encourage their reuse. The Fine PrintWhile the writers of the Preservation Leadership Forum blog are on staff at the National Trust for Historic Preservation or affiliated organizations, their posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a network of preservation leaders — professionals, students, volunteers, activists, experts — who share the latest ideas, information, and advice, and have access to in-depth preservation resources and training.
JRLA provides a leadership-focused education that engages and inspires youth to achieve at the rigorous level necessary to ultimately graduate with a college degree. About UsCreating and supporting new small high schools in Detroit so that thousands of additional Detroit students are prepared to enroll and succeed in college. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Participants visited AKA,Hyderabad Outreach projects to sensitise them to changes in the local environment. Its report, Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life, looks at decommissioned schools in these and nine other major cities to see what happened to the buildings themselves. As author of Helping Johnny Walk to School, I was aware of schools closing in major cities, but her presentation, which showed the abandonment of one glorious historic building after another, was sobering. Already located in neighborhoods where residents have left, many of these facilities are in poor shape due to lack of maintenance.
For this reason, some districts are banning the use of the shuttered buildings as schools for up to 40 years.
In Kansas City, the district hired a “repurposer” to help speed the process and ensure public participation. While charter schools were the largest category of reuse, 10% of the closed schools were used to create new housing.

School buildings can and should be reused, and preservationists will find this report extremely valuable as they promote school reuse in their communities. Students are provided with real-world and project-based experiences and will receive extensive college exposure and course opportunities through a partnership with the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM). Also, inside, get information on a teacher prep program at Montgomery College and a certificate program in equity at McDaniel College. Sessions were facilitated by Furthering Education and Save the Rocks, NGOs focusing on education for sustainable development. I learned that the typical school being shuttered is more than 60 years old, larger than 50,000 square feet, and located in a residential neighborhood. Given that the districts have to also secure the closed properties and pay for insurance, the operating savings is typically less than $1 million per school. Other cities are taking the opposite approach and encouraging charter schools to reuse these buildings by providing critical financing for renovation.
This innovative approach helps build relationships between developers, neighbors, and the school district. Immersed in the culture of college, they will have the opportunity to take three university courses as upperclassmen to ensure a seamless transition for college entry.  JRLA, a public charter school, opened in 2011 and will graduate its first class of seniors in 2015.
In all instances, they are struggling with whether or not new charter schools are the best use for these buildings. Bringing in outside help is critical because school districts do not have the expertise to market real estate.

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