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San Antonio ISD gets advice on how to repurpose recently closed schools from realtor association

The main entrance to Frederick Douglass Elementary with a man walking through the front doors.
Camille Phillips
Pastor Otis Mitchell walks across the street from his church to Frederick Douglass Elementary on September 27, 2023 for a district meeting on a proposal to close the school. Douglass is one of 15 schools trustees voted to close in November 2023, and that SAISD now needs to find a way to repurpose.

The San Antonio Independent School District hosted a team of realtor consultants the first week of June to get expert advice on how to repurpose the 13 school buildings left vacant by the district’s rightsizing plan.

The consultants were provided through a grant from the National Association of Realtors. According to the consultant’s preliminary report, the team of five consultants spent the week reviewing data, touring schools and neighborhoods, and interviewing people.

They recommend the district get community input on the best use of the empty building for their neighborhood and said the entire process from planning to occupancy could take over a year.

The consultants also recommended organizing buildings by potential use, including district use and third-party uses, with potential uses ranging from a city-run early childhood centers to job training, health care, housing or fresh food markets.

“Be future oriented. Not just what is here, or what was here, but what’s going to be here,” Monica Parikh, one of the members of the consulting team recommended in an SAISD news release.

“Your mission is in education, and we want to be able to help you manage the real estate in a way that is not taking away from your mission so you can focus on your priority of educating students,” Jacqueline Buhn, the consultant team leader said in the release.

The team presented their preliminary report to SAISD’s repurposing committee last week and will submit a complete report in 60 days.

SAISD trustees voted to close 15 schools in November 2023. Two of the 15 campuses closed for rightsizing will still be in use next school year as the district completes renovations at other campuses.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Desk, including H-E-B Helping Here, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation and Holly and Alston Beinhorn.

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Instagram at camille.m.phillips. TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.