Friday, May 08, 2009
APS Demolishing, Rebuilding
By Andrea Schoellkopf
Journal Staff Writer
Neighbors and parents who were once at odds over the reconstruction of Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary School picked up shovels Thursday and helped break ground for the future school.
Principal Lucinda Sanchez said bulldozers are expected to start work on Monday, with contractors pledging to bring updates to the classrooms in nearby portables so "kids really understand what it's like" to build a school.
Students tucked into a time capsule wishes from their classrooms, including a swimming pool, a two-story building, a big playground and high scores on state exams.
Georgia O'Keeffe and Susie Rayos Marmon, on the West Side, are both being rebuilt after being housed in temporary metal buildings for the past 20 years.
The 84,000-square-foot Georgia O'Keeffe will cost $10.5 million, which is the lowest APS has paid in recent years for a new school. Construction is to be completed in summer 2010.
And while neighbors turned out to help turn the ceremonial shovels of dirt, the seemingly forgotten APS Stronghurst Complex was being demolished at Second and Menaul NW on Thursday after the district finally received a dust permit.
Stronghurst, once an elementary school and district office complex, was labeled "structurally deficient and functionally obsolete" and had been scheduled for demolition in November 2007 so APS could sell the property.
It had been used as a school until the 1970s and was vacated by the district in 2006 as part of a consolidation into the Uptown City Centre building.
A potential buyer withdrew a $1.35 million bid in 2007 after the state Board of Finance delayed voting on a sale.