On Wednesday, May 30th, City Council gave initial approval to an allocation of $5,000 of Neighborhood Needs funding to the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC) to work with the Schenley Farms Civic Association and other interested neighborhood groups to create a community plan for the redevelopment of Schenley High School. As part of the agreement to close Schenley in 2008, the School District inserted a clause that there must be a community process to guide the redevelopment. This funding will allow that process to unfold.
The funding will allow OPDC and neighborhood groups to hire an architect and/or community planner to help design parameters for redevelopment of the site that are acceptable to the community and will retain and enhance the historic nature of the building and the neighborhoods surrounding it. Schenley High School is one of Pittsburgh's historic gems, it is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was the first million dollar school building in the country. It is critical to preserve this legacy while bringing new development and economic opportunity to the area. This community process will take place throughout the summer and recommendations will be provided to the School District.
I had the opportunity to tour Schenley High School last month. You can click here to view some photographs from my visit.