Last summer, 11 Tucson schools shut down and many of those are likely to remain boarded up and empty for at least a couple of years.
The Tucson Unified School District is planning to use two of the now empty campuses as daycare facilities for employees, and the district’s governing board is working on the sale of another empty school.
The 2013 closures drew hundreds of parents and students to emotionally-charged public meetings. Many feared having empty buildings in their neighborhoods could become hubs for crime or an eyesore for the neighborhood. Part of that fear stemmed from TUSD’s closure of other schools in 2010, when many were vandalized because the buildings were not properly secured.
“What we learned in 2010 was that we needed to get the buildings closed as quickly as possible,” said Bryant Nodine, TUSD's planning services program manager. “And we really did that this time.”
The district's security officers patrol TUSD’s more than 70 campuses daily, making stops at the closed campuses once every two to three days, Nodine explained.
TUSD staff moved desks, chairs, computers and everything that wasn’t nailed down, to other schools that needed new equipment or to a storage facility for later use or sale, Nodine said.
Students who were moved to new schools, and those who were in schools that received hundreds of new students are doing fine, said Adelita Grijalva, president of the TUSD Governing Board. The transition was smoother than in previous consolidations because district learned from the school closures in 2010.