LRSD wants input on how to repurpose two closing schools

LRSD asks for input to repurpose schools

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Neighbors and parents are being asked what they want to do with two school facilities that are set to close.

The Little Rock School District is asking for proposals to repurpose its Franklin and Woodruff campuses which are set to close at the end of this school year

"This school closes and this neighborhood is really going to go downhill," said Carl Brannin who lives across the street from Franklin Elementary. “You close that school and I guarantee they will have those gates broken down and that school will be graffiti and it will just be a mess."

He admits his worries will be calmed as long as the campus is put to good use.

“What we suggested was that they open it up for a community center and also maybe have it for nonprofits to rent rooms," said Brannin.

It’s ideas like this that LRSD is encouraging the public to submit.

“We have some expectations for those proposals. We first have to have a sustainable model and right behind that it’s got to be a model the community will also support," said LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore.

Franklin Elementary’s campus accounts for 10 acres on Harrison Street. Woodruff Elementary is a three story building on 1.9 acres on 7th Street.

Bonnie Pugh lives down the street from Woodruff and hopes they will continue use of the facility for a school. She's also worried what the closure will mean and wishes it would remain a school.

“It may affect this neighborhood if they don’t make the right decision when they close it down," said Pugh.

A bill could give public charter schools the right to access unused or underutilized public school facilities like these. Senate Bill 308 is currently in the house education committee awaiting a vote to the full house.

“That would be great. A school of any kind would be really good," said Brannin.

“We want to make sure we're aggressive in our approach to repurpose as quickly as we," said Poore.

LRSD is accepting proposals until March 31. Poore promises to make those proposals public and to hold public meetings by the second week of April.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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