Pittsburgh Public Schools board member Regina Holley Wednesday tonight successfully persuaded her colleagues to get up-to-date estimates of how much it would cost to renovate the former Pittsburgh Schenley High School in Oakland.
The resolution came as the district is in the process of reviewing four bids to purchase and reuse the school, which closed in 2008. The board is scheduled to vote on the bids on Feb. 27.
It was passed 6-3, with members Theresa Colaizzi, Jean Fink and Floyd McCrea voting no.
Ms. Holley said, "My thought is it would reopen as a school."
Ms. Holley noted that more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition calling for an investigation of the Schenley closure. The historic school was closed in 2008. She said that "new information has been obtained about the level of asbestos at the Schenley facility that was not available at the time the facility was closed."
The resolution specified that the estimate "should budget for removal of plaster only where there is good reason to remove the plaster in a particular area and should contemplate minimal reconfiguration of interior walls, and that specifications that will serve as the basis for the estimate be made available to board members in advance of seeking the estimate."
Ms. Colaizzi said the school was closed not only because of asbestos but also because of other costly repairs, including the ventilation system.
"The issues in that building are not just asbestos," she said.
Ms. Colaizzi also said the district does not have enough students to fill another school.
Mr. Isler, whose son went to Schenley, said the district does not have the tax base to support what it would cost to renovate Schenley. He said he had been stunned that Schenley had not been maintained when it was open. "We did not maintain this building for years, many years," he said.
Mr. Sumpter said, "We need to clear the air on Schenley. ... That's all this item is asking for, information."
He said he would like to make a decision based on "good information."
Board member Jean Fink said the district already has spent "a lot of money" on reports about Schenley.
Ms. Lane had offered pull together a report on Schenley based on existing information by Feb. 15.
Mr. Brentley said he is not interested in "rehashing."
Education writer Eleanor Chute: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1955.