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IPS Keeping Promise to Transform Former Schools into Valuable Community Assets

INDIANAPOLIS — Once bustling centers of learning, several schools in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) are no longer able to serve their original purpose, but the district is working to transform these vacant spaces into something valuable for the community.

Under the Rebuilding Stronger plan, IPS closed six buildings at the end of the 2022–23 school year due to underutilization and poor facility ratings. Rebuilding Stronger is designed to reinvent, rebuild, redesign and rethink IPS’ family of schools, how it spends resources, and how to effectively leverage facilities — with the ultimate commitment of ensuring excellent schools for all students in all neighborhoods throughout the district.

“Through the decision to repurpose these schools, the district not only is breathing new life into old structures but also showing that with creativity and determination, even seemingly obsolete spaces can find a meaningful purpose in service of the community,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson.

During the Board Action Session on Thursday, July 26, the IPS Board of School Commissioners approved lease agreements for Floro Torrence School 83 and George Buck School 94 with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

“This decision not only preserves the historical significance of the buildings but also ensures the facilities would be utilized to empower and support students with visual impairments,” said Dr. William Murphy, IPS chief operations officer.

“This collaboration is an excellent example of inclusivity and support for students with unique needs,” added Murphy. “The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired embraced the opportunity to expand its reach, offering specialized programs and resources that would cater to the diverse learning requirements of visually impaired students.”

The Board also approved the sales of Raymond F. Brandes School 65 and Francis Bellamy School 102. The district has been in discussions with multiple community partners and non-profits about future uses for the two buildings.

“IPS is committed to leveraging its assets to benefit the community,” Dr. Johnson said. “Through thoughtful planning, collaboration, and a shared vision, the district set a precedent for repurposing these schools into spaces that would positively impact the lives of students, families, and neighbors for generations to come. “