Closed schools in Tempe could become a theological college, a day care, a community center, or a hub for small business training and networking under ideas presented to the Tempe Elementary School District.
The district governing board asked for proposals from the community on what to do with the Bustoz and Meyer elementary school sites and McKemy Middle School. With declining enrollment and revenue, the governing board voted in the spring to close those campuses. School boundaries were shifted to bring students from those schools into other campuses.
The district wants to maintain ownership of the buildings, but doesn't want them to sit unoccupied until they can be used for students again. The district asked that any ideas provide a financial advantage to the district, fulfill a community need, produce a positive social outcome for the neighborhoods and be sustainable for several years.
Late last week, the district put the submitted ideas on its website. There are four each for Bustoz Elementary School and McKemy Middle School, and two for Meyer Elementary School.
Solid Rock Church/Ministries proposed similar ideas for all three campuses. The proposals include creating a Bible/financial college, using an area as child care for college students and the community, and another area as a youth center.
Another idea would create Ward Traditional Academy South at the Bustoz site. The proposal would be for the district to open another traditional, back-to-basics school there, and there would not be an outside renter. One proposal would open a private, tuition-based elementary school for gifted students on the McKemy Middle School site.
A committee is reviewing the ideas this week with those who made the proposals. Finalists will be announced Friday.
"The district truly appreciates the time and energy that was spent by community partners and school neighbors, who wrote plans and created presentations," said district spokeswoman Monica Allread.
The governing board is scheduled to discuss the finalists during a study session Oct. 19. Public forums at the three sites will be held in late October, with a possible governing board vote in November.
For information, see www.tempeschools.org.
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Michelle Reese, East Valley Tribune