It's a Nice Place to Visit, But...

Sept. 1, 2001
For many of you, the number of hours you put in on the job may make you feel as if you live in your school buildings.

For many of you, the number of hours you put in on the job may make you feel as if you live in your school buildings. Well, now you can actually mean it when you say, “I live at work.”

While much of the nation is experiencing rapid student-enrollment growth, causing schools and universities to scramble for more space, there are certain areas that are seeing the school-age population dwindle — resulting in buildings that need to be closed, converted for alternative uses, or sold. A number of school facilities that are up for sale are being marketed for potential reuse as — no joke — private residences.

It is common practice for once-shuttered school buildings to be sold and transformed into alternative facilities such as office complexes, health clubs, community centers, etc. But some rare individuals actually see certain abandoned schools as a place to call “home.”

Ready to start your home-shopping tour?

Consider Stockbridge Common School in Stockbridge, Vt. Originally built in 1884 as a one-room schoolhouse, the school was closed in the 1950s and was retrofitted with three bedrooms. It could be yours for $750,000, and the realtor will throw in a 200-year-old, four-bedroom house on the 46-acre site so you can invite fellow staff to share in the “school-as-home” experience.

If you don't want to spend quite as much money, take a look at the 1907 school turned community center turned single-family house in Lebanon, Colo. Complete with a horse stable, you could be riding in style for just $344,900.

For those desiring more upscale digs, P.S. 35 on East 51st Street in Manhattan may be for you. While the original 1893 Romanesque Revival facade is still intact, the school is now a massive 19-story condominium complex. You can choose from 64 lofts, apartments, townhouses and penthouses — ranging from $820,000 to $11 million.

If it's space you're after, consider the 1916 public high school in Pekin, Ill. At 200,000 square feet, the 60-plus classrooms, gymnasium, auditorium, two libraries and more included in the building will make you the envy of the neighborhood — and it will only cost you a mere $2.2 million.

So if you just can't get enough of your school buildings and would like to spend considerably more time in one, consider some of the examples here. But don't wait too long. I'm sure these “homes” will not stay on the market long.

You can reach Joe Agron at [email protected].

About the Author

Joe Agron | Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 25 years, and has helped influence and shape national school infrastructure issues. He has been sought out for comments by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News and CNN, and assisted with the introduction of the Education Infrastructure Act of 1994.

Joe also authors a number of industry-exclusive reports. His "Facilities Impact on Learning" series of special reports won national acclaim and helped bring the poor condition of the nation's schools to the attention of many in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

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