Schenley High School sale sparks board debate
Schenley High School has stood closed, quiet and shuttered in Oakland for nearly five years, its halls vacant. But now it is causing a ruckus again.
“I'm against the sale,” said Tom Sumpter, a Pittsburgh Public Schools board member. “The (minimum bid) was too low. At some later point in time, who's to say what resources may become available to put it back online?”
Sumpter spoke at the board meeting on Wednesday night as members debated a resolution to sell the building and the wisdom in originally closing it in 2008.
“It's very disconcerting to me that we're turning over a building into high-end, luxury apartments rather than a school,” said board member Regina Holley, who said she would oppose selling the building to anyone who would make it something besides a school.
Board member Mark Brentley Sr., who voted against closing the school five years ago, said he will introduce a motion next week to table the sale.
On Feb. 6, a review panel consisting of representatives of the district, nearby communities and Fourth River Development, which is handling the sale of closed buildings in the district, recommended that the board accept a $5.2 million bid from PMC/Schenley HSB Associates, more than $1 million higher than the minimum bid.
PMC owns the Kenmawr Apartments in Shadyside, 201 Stanwix in Downtown, the Penn Garrison Lofts in the Cultural District and apartment buildings in Philadelphia and six other states.
PMC wants to convert Schenley into about 175 luxury apartments. PMC plans to add a fitness center in the building, keep the basketball gym and determine later what to do with the swimming pool and auditorium.
The board voted in 2008 to close the school because it would have cost more than $75 million to remove asbestos, fix mechanical systems and make other repairs to the building.
Last week the district released two new estimates on the work that the school board requested last month: HHSDR Architects and Engineers put the cost at nearly $53.2 million, and Astorino put it at more than $59.4 million.
Superintendent Linda Lane has said the district cannot afford to fix the building.
The board will hold a public hearing on Schenley at 6 p.m. Monday, and a vote on the bid is scheduled for Feb. 27.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- CMU water service to be interrupted for much of Sunday
- Hill District leaders irked as Penguins submit former Civic Arena site plan to city
- Job prospects drawing workers to Western Pennsylvania
- City’s plan for Strip flummoxes vendors
- Family becomes ‘forever’
- City of Pittsburgh detective, 2 boys finalize adoption before judge
- Identical twins born at West Penn Hospital a rare medical marvel
- Internet access still out of reach for some, Census figures show
- Orders for Pittsburgh police hats soar with new uniform policy
- Marshall land parcel along Route 910 eyed as park site
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation