Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Schenley High School worth fixing, architect says - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The price tag: $10-million. That is it. And, the students do NOT need to be out of the building. Roosevelt is way out of bounds.

It is cheaper to fix the building and not move the school and make such radical and rushed changes. It is better for Pittsburgh's taxpayers to fix the building and keep Schenley operational in Oakland.
Schenley High School worth fixing, architect says - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "In recommending the closure of Schenley High School, city schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt stressed an architect's cost estimate of $76.2 million for renovations.

He left out one thing.

The Downtown firm, MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni, said the 92-year-old building is worth fixing.

'Despite its high cost, it is our opinion that the building is worth the investment,' Albert L. Filoni, president of the firm, wrote in a report Thursday to Paul Gill, chief of operations for the Pittsburgh Public Schools."
This is the headline:

Filoni's firm, which designed Schenley, estimates it would cost $10.5 million to remove the asbestos. The firm suggests that the work not be done while students, faculty and staff are in the building.

The inflation of the fix-up is being reported upon as $77-million. The early reports to the board were $44-million. But those reports had done LOTS more than just the asbestos removal. The price tag is NOT what we have been shown.

There are much better ways to manage the overall situation.

1. Move Schenley to Milliones on a temporary basis until the work in Schenley is done. Keep Schenley's sports facilites open for after-school efforts. Kids can walk to Schenley from Milliones. The newer sports wing of Schenley isn't in the rage of asbestos. Or, at worst, do that section in the summers.

2. Do NOT open the University Prep in its own building. Instead, put the University Prep into Schenley. The University Prep should be a city-wide magnet for grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

3. Keep Rodgers Middle School right where it is for now; grades 6, 7 and 8.

4. Keep Frick Middle School right where it is for now; grades 6, 7 and 8.

These moves, I and others have suggested, ends the fabricated crisis from the zealot, Mark Roosevelt. Lots of money is saved. Performing schools are not crushed. More time is allowed for Mark Roosevelt to do his homework for the whole of high school reform for the district.

Nothing should be done in such a rush. And, nothing should be done until the entire scope of the district and associated costs are fully understood.

For instance: The Pgh Public School district should sell its Board of Education building in Oakland. That is valuable. The windfall from the sale of that building can fetch the necessary money to pay for the fix-up at Schenley.

Furthermore, the Reizenstein building at the eastern edge of the city, a building that was always an inferior school, should be sold. That building is valued for development, as it sits next to the new Baker's Square new development. Land circles the building. It is also next to a park, offering a benefit for housing. The Reizenstein building is a poor excuse for a school as it has no windows. The fix up for the Reizenstein building into a school again is going to cost $50-million or more. Sell it. It could make for a nice office park.

Provide a plan for Vo Tech right away. It is already four years late!

Do your homework school administration!

We want to know more about the proposed Sci-Tech educational plan. Where is that building going to be located. Reveal it to us -- and consult with us.

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