On Nov. 8, Cincinnati Public Schools
auctioned 13 school buildings and four land parcels, valued at more than $27 million, according to the county auditor's office. Eleven of the buildings sold, along with one piece of land. Bidding opened on Nov. 5 at $50,000; at the close of the auction, CPS made $3.5 million, which was more than enough to complete the district's Facilities Master Plan
The FMP was part of a bond levy that was passed in spring 2003 that combined state and other funds for a $1 billion build-out of the district. In the next 18 months, every school currently in use by CPS will either have been renovated or rebuilt to create a better environment for students, faculty and staff.
As part of the FMP, many of the schools that were sold at auction were “swing” schools, which means they were used for classes while other schools were being renovated. After renovations, CPS no longer had a need for the schools, but wanted the buildings to have second lives.
“As part of the plan, we knew we couldn’t overbuild, and we didn’t want to under-build,” says Janet Walsh, director of public affairs for CPS. “The consequence of that was that there were some beautiful buildings that we weren’t able to use as school buildings, but could be used by the community in other ways.”
The district's approach, as it has been before, was to put the buildings up for auction.
CPS held a successful auction about three years ago, but this one included more buildings and raised more money than expected, says Eve Bolton, board president of CPS. Some of the schools that didn’t sell in the 2009 auction sold this time around.
“The reality is that the economic upturn in this region and the interest in Greater Cincinnati leaves a stock of historic, well-built schools empty,” says Bolton. “We want to see our buildings reused and recycled so that they can be beneficial to the neighborhoods they are a part of.”
State law allows CPS to auction off unused buildings, but only after they have first been offered to local charter schools. Those left after auction can be sold on the public market as pieces of real estate. Buyers have no legal restrictions regarding what the school buildings can be used as—some of the buildings will become other schools, residential housing or office buildings; others will be torn down and something else will be built in their places.
CPS schools and land included in the Nov. 8 auction:
By Caitlin Koenig
- Burton Elementary School, 876 Glenwood Street, North Avondale: sold for $305,000; built in 1966, last class in 2008
- Central Fairmount Elementary School, 2475 White Street, South Fairmount: sold for $310,000; built in 1900, last class in 2012
- Heberle Elementary School, 2015 Freeman Avenue, West End: sold for $60,000; built in 1929, last class in 2007
- Hoffman Elementary School, 3060 Durrell Avenue, Evanston: sold for $200,000; built in 1922, last class in 2011
- Kirby Road Elementary School, 1710 Bruce Avenue, Northside: sold for $230,000; built in 1910, last class in 2005
- Lafayette Bloom Middle School, 1941 Baymiller Street, West End: sold for $60,000; built in 1915, last class in 2006
- Linwood Fundamental Academy, 4900 Eastern Avenue, Linwood: sold for $75,000; built in 1927-29, last class in 2005
- Losantiville Elementary School, 6701 Elbrook Avenue, Amberley Village: sold for $525,000; built in 1954, last class in 2008
- Old SCPA, 1310 Sycamore Street, Pendleton: sold for $1.3 million; built in 1910, last class in 2010
- Old Shroder Junior High School, 3500 Lumford Place, Kennedy Heights: sold for $150,000; built in 1956, last class unknown
- Paradrome Street parcel, Mount Adams: sold for $135,000
- Winton Montessori School, 4750 Winton Road, Winton Place: sold for $265,000; closed in early Nov. 2012
- George F. Sands School, 940 Poplar Street, West End: not sold, valued at $1.89 million; built in 1912, last class in 2007
- North Fairmount Elementary School, 2001 Baltimore Avenue, North Fairmount: not sold, valued at $2.2 million; built in 1954, last class unknown
- E. Apple Street parcel, Winton Hills: not sold, valued at $485,628
- Terry Street parcel, East Price Hill: not sold, valued at $13,400
- Site of old Millvale school building, 3277 Beekman Street, Millvale: not sold, valued at $135,550
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