By Tyler Schneider
The former Center School District administration building at 8701 Holmes is now vacant after faculty members completed the process of transitioning over to the Center Academy for Success (8434 Paseo Boulevard) earlier this fall.
After consulting with members of the community, Rick Chambers, Director of Communications & Development for the Center School District has outlined three possible scenarios for the future of the historic property.
The first of these involves “making the necessary repairs to allow [the building] to be reused in generally the same form as its current configuration,” Chambers wrote.
There are a number of suggestions for how to implement this first approach. Some have suggested relocating the Center Museum from the basement of the high school to 8701 Holmes, while others think the property could be used to provide additional classroom space or become a home for community resource providers such as libraries, health care, or safety net services. If they chose to go all in, it could even be turned into transitional housing for unaccompanied minor students.
Regardless of how the space could be recycled, Chambers notes that all of these proposed ideas would require significant repairs to the building—from roofing, to new windows, and flood damage remediation and prevention—and could cost anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000.
The second possible scenario would also see the building being repurposed, but “a very specific type of reuse that will be less expensive,” Chambers wrote.
“That idea is to convert the space into a learning lab for a new Construction Trades program. Essentially, most of the interior of the building would be stripped down to studs with the open spaces used for learning projects for framing, drywall, painting, electrical, plumbing and other in-demand skills in construction.”
This route is estimated to have a price tag of roughly $50,000 to $100,000, though a portion of those funds would likely be raised via donations.
If Center School District found either of those first two scenarios implausible for whatever reason, demolishing the building seems to be the final alternative. This would cost $50,000 or less, while the district would retain the land for possible use in a future project or projects.
The Center Board of Education is currently analyzing all of these options and working with experts to iron out the issues of costs of either repurposing or demolishing the building. District officials invite any interested citizens, parents, or students to weigh in on the future of 8701 Holmes via this survey.