The case studies in this booklet highlight how five communities, in big cities and small towns, overcame the obstacles inherent in creating good new schools in existing neighborhoods. There is mounting evidence that small schools provide a better quality education than large ones. Among the obstacles faced in establishing new schools in old areas are: (1) school building standards, codes, and regulations; (2) difficulty in acquiring land; (3) districts have lost the skill to build schools; and (4) building “greenfield” schools is more familiar. The Oyster School in Washington, D.C., is an example of a school modernized through parent efforts when the school system was not able to find the funds for improvement of the facility. Sharing the existing space with an apartment building, at the cost of some space, resulted in a renovated school. In Pomona, California, a school was built at the site of a mall and vacant supermarket. A magnet-type school was built in Dallas, Texas, on the last piece of undeveloped land near a multifamily apartment complex. Two public academies were established in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, to attract children whose parents work in town and ensure that both the academies were filled to capacity. Rebuilding on the site of an old school was the solution for Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as it worked to meet the needs of a neighborhood. Some other examples of noteworthy approaches to new schools for old communities are briefly outlined.
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