School board votes to sell former Oakland high school

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On a 5-4 vote, the Pittsburgh Public School board decided Wednesday night to put the former Schenley High School in Oakland up for sale.

The board voted Wednesday to sell the historic building that was closed in 2008 after then superintendent Mark Roosevelt said it would take $76.2 million to renovate, including addressing a significant asbestos problem.

Voting in favor were Theresa Colaizzi, Jean Fink, Bill Isler, Floyd McCrea and Sherry Hazuda. Opposed were Mark Brentley Sr., Regina Holley, Sharene Shealey and Thomas Sumpter.

Mr. Brentley questioned the conditions under which Schenley was closed in the first place, saying that scare tactics were used. Ms. Holley said she thinks the building -- particularly the gym and swimming pool -- could be used by students at other city schools.

Ms. Colaizzi said the building was unsafe and can't be forever because of hte ongoing cost.

The board last fall rejected a $2 million bid from PMC Property Group of Philadelphia, which planned to spend $35 million transforming it into apartments. The district had sought a minimum bid of $4 million.

It later considered putting Schenley -- which was built in 1916 -- back in the market, but delayed the decision in the the spring after some board members wondered whether its gym and pool could be separated so that city students could use them.

Over the summer, a study facilitated by Pfaffmann & Associates and funded through Councilman Bill Peduto's office, examined possible uses of the building and received community input into a variety of uses, including putting it up for sale.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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