Thursday, April 15, 2010

Robert Morris to cut its Downtown location. For sale.

Robert Morris is expanding on its Moon campus. Blasting off its downtown satalite building.

Robert Morris puts its center Downtown up for sale Robert Morris puts its center Downtown up for sale
Thursday, April 15, 2010
By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robert Morris University plans to sell its signature but under-utilized Downtown classroom center so it can devote more resources to its residential Moon campus and develop online programs and new locations more attractive to nontraditional students.
The eight-story building at 600 Fifth Ave. that has carried the Robert Morris name for half a century will be listed on the market as soon as this week, university President Gregory G. Dell'Omo confirmed late Wednesday.

So, who can buy that building?

Duquesne University is the first natural buyer. It could take the building and turn it into a sports dorm for the baseball team. Woops. Duquesne just cut the baseball team.

A charter school, such as City High, could buy the building.

A Pittsburgh Public School could open up downtown in that building. We don't have any elementary schools downtown.

A CTE (Career and Technical Education) school is needed. Perhaps it could go there. CTE is the modern lingo for Vo Tech. But, we've already got Connelley just up the hill. A downtown based CTE would be much easier to get to than the others being proposed in different sections of the city. The present PPS plan being hatched has CTE students spending half the day in their regular high schools for the reading and writting parts. Then the specialized classes would be in other schools. That requires a mid-day bus trip from one location to the other.

Mid-day bussing of high school students isn't ideal in the slightest. But, if you must move them -- send them to a central location, such as Downtown.

PPS still needs a home for its public prep school so kids have an option to attend a 13th grade. But, before the public prep school option can find it home, it needs to find other supporters about the overall concept. But I could see this as a great use. Rather than going to RMU or CCAC and needing to take remedial classes as a freshmen, some of the PPS kids could opt to take a 'gap year-ish' course of study at the downtown campus. They'd get hard academic classes, (AP or IB), and really prepare so that the next year they'd hit college with some credits and a much better chance of success. But the real value of the 13th year was to include it as part of the IB High School so that advanced kids in 11th and 12 grades could also sit in class with those in the 13th grade option. Doing a different 13th year, or public prep building would be expensive. Having an infusion of kids in existing courses with existing students and teachers would be without much cost at all.

Or, Google could buy the building. Google Pittsburgh's headquarters could be there. We'll put a lawn chair out for you to save the parking spot.

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