Thursday, January 26, 2006

Plans progress to reuse Phoenix's historic Franklin School

[Source: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic] -- Neighbors near the old Franklin School got a peek at plans to put a public safety high school there. Officials from the Phoenix Union High School District, architects, and a general contractor recently met with residents in nearby F.Q. Story and Fairview Place historic districts to answer questions and show off a $4 million planned renovation.

Residents are excited about the plans, says Steve Dreiseszun, president of the Story Preservation Association. Franklin School at 1645 W. McDowell Road has sat empty for decades, falling into disrepair. Phoenix Union bought the school from the Phoenix Elementary School District for $10,000 in 2005. The neighborhood already is bordered on one side by Kenilworth Elementary School. Dreiseszun says children bring life to a neighborhood. About 400 students are expected to attend the public safety high school when it opens in 2007.

Right now, the program is housed at Metro Tech High but is open only to juniors and seniors. The new school will be open to freshmen and sophomores, too, with all core classes offered on site in addition to courses in fire science, law enforcement or emergency medical training. Work is expected to begin in March, district spokesman Craig Pletenik said. This is the second of three small schools planned for the Phoenix district. The first, Cyber High, opened this month. A bioscience school will open in August in downtown Phoenix, though students won't be in their own new building until 2007.