Law Threatens Sale of Broad Ripple High School Building to Willing (and Eager) Developers

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After the last official class passed the doors of Broad Ripple High School, the building's time as a school seemed to be over...or is it? Currently, according to current information from an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal, developers are eager to bid on the old school – but a restrictive law may prevent IPS from cashing in on some much-needed funds. Earlier this spring, it seemed law-makers were poised to exempt IPS from the law, but the wording was removed from the relevant bill and it would appear that current legal hurdles to the sale of Broad Ripple High School remain. We tell you what this means for the city, IPS, and developers alike.

 

What the Law Says

 

The current legal sticking point is a law that states that a school district, such as IPS, with an empty school building, such as Broad Ripple High School, must make that building available to charter schools for two years before offering it for sale to other buyers. The real kicker is that under the same law, charter schools could walk away with such a property for the cool sum of one whole dollar. According to the article in the IBJ, the IPS superintendent has already gone on record saying that he'll seek relief from this law during the next legislative session, after the failure of the last session to remedy their grievance.

 

What the City Stands to Gain

 

According to the IBJ data, some estimates put the profits from a sale of the property around $6-$8 million, which is no small sum for a school district seeking ways to shore up a fiscal deficit. The building itself is in a desirable area and lends itself to hopeful plans to develop a gateway near College Ave. One developer the IBJ article mentions by name is TWG Development, Inc., which has several school-conversions under their belt in recent years. TWG has converted schools into apartment complexes; the IBJ notes projects like Morton School Senior Apartments and Wexford on the Park as some of their previous projects. Other developers have shown interest in the school for mixed-use, with both retail, or office and apartments all being possibilities of any development. Some are hoping that a sale goes through and that the Broad Ripple school property is renovated and put back on the tax rolls – financially benefiting both IPS and the city of Broad Ripple itself.

 

Some Hope for Scholastic Use

 

Yet there are those who are hoping to see the once-and-former school become a school again, with the IBJ citing city leaders and survey respondents saying they hope the site will remain scholastic in nature. To that end, there are indeed charter schools potentially on the move and interested in this prime real estate. According to the IBJ, both Purdue Polytechnic and Herron High School are eyeing the Broad Ripple building as a potential future home. Even those city leaders who want to see the school home to future students have hope that the building could serve a mixed-use purpose – perhaps housing office space on one floor, for example.

 

The Take-Away

 

The school's location makes it ideal for developers looking to transform the building into apartments with possible retail or office space as well. While there are some locals who are staunch in their opposition to any future development sale, city officials themselves see a way for students and mixed-use opportunities to grace the halls of the high school. Regardless of public sentiment, until the next legislative session, the future of the IPS school and any development deals are in limbo as the current law restricts a lucrative sale.

Elizabeth Wheeler