Indianapolis, Indiana – The future of three facilities within the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) district has been decided upon, whilst plans for the remaining three continue to be developed.
At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the IPS board of commissioners ratified a resolution which entails utilizing one of the facilities to accommodate the district’s facilities management services along with a charter school. Additionally, two other buildings will be repurposed to serve the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired as their campus undergoes significant renovations in the forthcoming years.
The district has expressed a desire to maintain the Francis Parker School 56, due to considerable public interest in the historically significant building. Despite this, no immediate plans for the facility have been formulated. The school’s central location makes it an attractive prospect for future student use, however, an estimated $15 million to $30 million in repairs and renovations are required. The functions of the Francis Bellamy School 102 and Raymond Brandes School 65 are also still under consideration.
Superintendent Aleesia Johnson indicated to the press prior to Tuesday’s action session that they aim to disclose plans for Francis Bellamy and Raymond Brandes before the commencement of the 2023-24 academic year.
Johnson stated, “Most important to us is to ensure that the next steps for buildings are steps that are positively contributing to that particular community.”
The proposed closure of these six schools forms part of the district’s ‘Rebuilding Stronger’ strategy, which was developed in response to decreasing enrollment numbers. The selection of buildings slated for closure was influenced by a range of factors, including enrollment rates, the current state of the building, and future demographic projections.
The Paul Miller School 114 building is earmarked to host the district’s Facilities Maintenance Division and an adult charter high school, in association with the Goodwill Excel Center. Due to the open-plan design of School 114, significant renovations will not be necessary. This transition will enable the consolidation of FMD services, which are currently scattered across multiple locations, into one centralized location.
The district plans to lease Floro Torrence School 83 and George Buck School 94 to the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired during the renovation of their main campus. These buildings will also accommodate the Indiana School for the Deaf.
The nonprofit youth development group, 100 Black Men, will utilize the Floro Torrence building for their programs during the summer and autumn of the 2023-24 academic year.
Susan Leach School 68 will be repurposed for shipping and receiving, offering a potential saving of $11,000 per month on warehousing costs and centralizing the district’s warehousing operations. This facility, which was closed to students by IPS in 2009 and has not been used for student instruction since 2019, has been providing temporary accommodation for homeless families during the winter months.
Several charter school leaders have expressed interest in acquiring one of the IPS buildings due to be closed, under the ‘Rebuilding Stronger’ plan. These leaders hope to leverage a state law that allows for the purchase of unused school buildings for just $1, although IPS has managed to avoid such sales to date.