Apartments, health clinic among ideas for re-use of Little Rock schools | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 3, 2017

Apartments, health clinic among ideas for re-use of Little Rock schools

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 12:56 PM

click to enlarge ENVISIONED AS APARTMENTS: Woodruff school, scheduled for closure, would become multifamily housing undeer each of two separate ideas submitted to the Little Rock School District. - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • ENVISIONED AS APARTMENTS: Woodruff school, scheduled for closure, would become multifamily housing undeer each of two separate ideas submitted to the Little Rock School District.

The Little Rock School District has received seven ideas for using two schools to be closed next year as a result of budget cuts approved by the state, which controls the school district.

It sought proposals by Friday for Franklin Elementary at 17th and Harrison and the Woodruff pre-school facility at 3010 W. 7th. Wilson Elementary is also to be closed, but it is to be the new site for the Hamilton Learning Academy alternative school. Hamilton has been using a building on the Bale Elementary campus, but it may be used for an expansion of Bale through middle school grades.

The proposals include two ideas for converting Woodruff into apartments and ideas for Franklin include a community health center and another site for the Watershed nonprofit that has long used a former school in Granite Mountain for its programs serving the needy.

* Apartments. Moses Tucker Real Estate of Little Rock proposes to lead an investor group to buy the property for $700,.000. It would create 23 apartments, create a "community room" and build a park with a community swimming pool offering seasonal memberships.

* Apartments. A Miami-based LLC led by Ross Toyne proposes to create up to 25 apartments in the three buildings on the property, but said it would first prefer to use about a third of the space for "community development," such as a child care center. It offers $250,000 for the property.


* The Sustainability Project Inc. proposes to create a "community hub" for community involvement and local sustainability initiatives. the grounds would be devoted to "urban agriculture." It listed no purchase price.

* The Watershed would locate in Franklin, but be an anchor in the building for use by multiple agencies. It offered $25,000 for the property.

* Community Health Center of Arkansas, which has operated at sites around the state since 1985, proposes to establish a community health center.  It said it didn't have enough time for required studies to make a firm offer on price, but said it would want a no-pay, no-interest loan for five years and, in return, that it would provide some free medical services to the school district.

Both campuses

Dr. Anika Whitfield, who's been a school district activist, made a submission with ideas for both schools to continues as schools and relying on school district taxpayers and philanthropy to operate them.

She'd use Franklin for students pre-K through 5th grade "in classes that are not at maximum capacity and with teachers, administrators, and other school personnel who love and care about them and their futures."

She'd similarly use Woodruff for pre-K classes under maximum capacity on the bottom floor and kindergarten on an upper floor.

All will require study. The district needs to move quickly to establish new tenants in the buildings, lest they become available for forced sales to charter schools under legislation recently approved with the support of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, currently serving as the "school board" for the district.

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