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41 'prospective partners' identified for school buildings

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OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel announces his recommendation for the final plan of Pathway to Greatness to the Oklahoma City School Board in February. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel announces his recommendation for the final plan of Pathway to Greatness to the Oklahoma City School Board in February. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

A multitude of community partners are interested in occupying school buildings that will be closed in the coming months, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel told the school board.

McDaniel, speaking to the board last week, identified as many as 41 prospective partners "who have told us they are ready to take advantage of this repurposing opportunity."

"We're continuing to meet with our repurposing partners, those who have expressed interest leading up to the vote … in terms of occupancy of all of a building, part of a building and what those contractual terms are," he said.

The district will close 15 schools and reconfigure or relocate 17 others before the start of the 2019-20 school year under a restructuring plan approved by the board earlier this month.

McDaniel previously reported securing district and community uses for 13 of 15 school buildings, including Edwards, North Highland and Putnam Heights elementary schools and Centennial Mid-High.

In that scenario, Seeworth Academy, a charter for at-risk students, would occupy Edwards. KIPP Reach Academy, a charter for middle school students, would occupy North Highland, and Harding Charter Preparatory High School would occupy Centennial. The district, meanwhile, has offered the Putnam Heights Elementary site to Harding Fine Arts Academy but has yet to receive a commitment for the 2019-20 school year. The Harding Fine Arts leadership team has indicated it wants to buy the building it currently shares with Harding Charter Prep.

Four other elementary schools set to close — Horace Mann, Johnson, Pierce and Telstar — would house early childhood centers while Oakridge Elementary would become a health and community center, the district reported in late February.

Gatewood Elementary would house Oklahoma Children's Theatre and Oklahoma Autism Center Foundation, the district reported. McDaniel has not identified possible uses for Edgemere and Green Pastures elementary schools. Verbal agreements were in place but no signed contracts, McDaniel said prior to the vote.

The superintendent has pledged to "reinvent" the district by aligning facilities and resources with instructional needs. In addition to finding other uses for closed buildings, the district will convert six elementary schools into middle schools, relocate four charter schools and disband the district's mid-high model.

Tim Willert

Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers K-12 education, including Oklahoma City Public Schools and the state Education Department. Before that he covered district, federal and appellate courts in Oklahoma County. Prior... Read more ›

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