Council will hold hearings on adaptive reuse of closed school buildings

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown introduced a resolution Thursday calling for hearings on finding adaptive reuses for the 23 school buildings that will close at the end of this year. The resolution was co-sponsored by 3rd-District Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and the hearings will be held in Council’s Committee on Education.

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger has been tasked with working with the School District to formulate a plan to find new uses for the closed school buildings. A group of students at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design recently developed a model of their own for reusing schools. The students’ model won praise from city and school district officials, and was cited by Councilwoman Brown’s office in a press release on Thursday.

A spokesman for Councilwoman Brown said that the hearings likely won’t be held until the fall, but that Brown’s office plans to spend the summer doing research and holding meetings with various groups.

“Abandoned buildings can quickly become the scourge of a neighborhood if there is no plan in place to secure new tenants or re-imagine the building,” Brown said Thursday in a statement. “Prior proper planning makes the difference; by putting together an action plan now, we have the opportunity for creative, innovative ideas that can transform neighborhoods in a positive manner. Our goal is to harness the creativity and brain power from a host of diverse stakeholders to breathe new life into these buildings, energize surrounding neighborhoods and realize new revenue for the School District of Philadelphia.”

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