Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Possible Twist in the Priestley Charter School Saga

There's now another interesting aspect to the long, tortured saga of Priestley Charter School, the school that currently occupies the historic McDonough No. 11 School in the LSU Footprint.

The students are set, unfortunately, to be forced out of the building over the holiday break and sent to an inferior location way out on Almonaster Avenue.

Recently, though, I heard about a proposal for a long-term replacement home for Priestley Charter via Jeff Schwartz with Broad Community Connections.  Schwartz worked with an MIT team that came up with a winning plan for creating a home for the wandering school in the old Israel M. Augustine School building that currently sits vacant on Broad Street near Tulane Avenue:

An innovative fabrication center

The idea of linking was a signature theme in the second group's proposal for a vocational school and fabrication facility in the Broad Street area of New Orleans. A team of DUSP and architecture graduate students worked with the non-profit Broad Community Connections to develop a proposal to rehabilitate an abandoned school building into a construction and design center. The redeveloped space would provide a home for the Priestley School of Architecture and Construction, a charter school that serves at-risk students. A permanent home for the Priestley School — on its fourth location in four years — will allow the school to focus on providing a quality education. In addition, the building will feature a Fabrication Laboratory, or Fab Lab, as a complementary use on site. Fab Labs are workshops for high-tech digital fabrication that aim to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the local community. The final piece of the team's proposal calls for sustained relationships with the MIT community to add additional capacity to both the development project and the operations of the school.

“Several community members approached our team at the finals (even some that had come to support other proposals!) to tell us how important the renovation of the Augustine school would be to the local community,” said Caroline Todd Edwards, a graduate student in urban studies and planning who was part of the team.

No comments: