Temple buys former William Penn school in North Philly for $15 million [photos]

    The School Reform Commission has approved Temple University’s bid for the former home of William Penn High School in North Philadelphia.

    The $15 million sale got the green light Thursday during the SRC’s final regular meeting of the school year.

    Temple plans on demolishing part of the property on North Broad Street to make way for athletic fields and recreation space for students.

    A job-training academy is slated for the rest of it thanks to a partnership with the Laborers’ District Council Education and Training/Apprenticeship Fund.

    “It’s state-of-the-art job training for workers in Philadelphia and the whole region, but especially workers who are near us in North Philadelphia. It’s a very convenient location and something that’s really been needed in the community,” said Temple spokesman Hillel Hoffman.

    The SRC’s four-to-one vote angered and disappointed some neighbors of the building who had hoped it would reopen as a site for district students after it was “temporarily” closed in 2009.

    Faye Anderson with the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Action Network — which sits in and serves members of the Yorktown community – doesn’t think the project will benefit the neighborhood.

    “The community is so proud to have first- and second-generation homeowners and now, smack dab in the middle of all this property, all of this history, Temple will put a stadium,” Anderson said. “It will not increase their home values. It will decrease their home values.”

    Hoffman said the university expects to finalize the deal on or before June 30.

    Construction would begin within a year after closing.

    In May, the Philadelphia School District put 20 schools on the auction block, including William Penn.

    The entire 20-building portfolio is listed at nearly $55 million, but may garner less depending on the market.

    The district is facing a $216 million budget gap for next school year.

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