IPS hopes to turn a former high school into a new community hubDecember 17, 2021
Officials envision a new future for a former Indianapolis high school shuttered since 2018 — a hub for social services on the far eastside.
The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners approved a plan Thursday to sell the John Marshall school building to a yet to be determined nonprofit organization for $725,000 in order to create a neighborhood support center.
Under the terms of the project proposal, the new owner would work with the John Marshall Collaborative, a development group, to repair the building and bring in providers like Ivy Tech Community College, a food bank, and employment support services.
The total estimated cost of the John Marshall Opportunity Hub project ranges from $30-50 million, including $20 million in renovations, remediations, and site improvements, according to a presentation to the board.
The district intends to identify a buyer next spring and bring a purchase agreement back to the board in May 2021. In addition to the revenue from the sale, the district expects to save $400,000 in utility and building costs annually.
“Though we know the building is probably worth more, this is going to be a great thing for the community to strive for,” said Commissioner Taria Slack.
The John Marshall building has already lived many lives. It opened first as a high school in 1968, before closing its doors in 1986 due to a drop in population following the Unigov decision that created Marion County’s 11 school districts.
IPS reopened the building in 1993, using it first as a middle school, then a high school, and finally a middle school again before permanently closing the building in 2018 due in part to poor academic performance.
But the far eastside — a neighborhood of around 85,000 residents — continues to have a need for education and job training, as well as food and healthcare, according to the district’s presentation on the project.
The Opportunity Hub concept would have space for 75-100 transitional housing units, as well as a business hub, playground, and community garden. Its initial goals include providing job training for up to 1,500 residents and starting up to 15 businesses.
This article was originally posted on IPS hopes to turn a former high school into a new community hub