Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities as enrollment and school-age population have declined. The challenge of finding new uses for old school buildings is daunting, and the downside of letting them sit idle can be significant—empty buildings can cast a pall over neighborhoods and be costly to seal and maintain. To find out how districts are grappling with this issue, we studied the experiences of 12 cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years. This is the story, from community members' perspectives, of two such buildings in Philadelphia.
For more information and to download the report, "Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life," visit http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_report_detail.aspx?id=85899449574.