Neighborhood grows in school’s footprintSuperior Middle School created state-of-the-art classrooms for about 1,200 sixth- through eighth-grade students.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
Superior Middle School created state-of-the-art classrooms for about 1,200 sixth- through eighth-grade students.
However, it also left the Superior school district with a dilemma: What would it do with two obsolete buildings it would no longer use? After all, developers weren’t exactly lining up to find new uses for the old schools. The school district extended its deadlines to find proposals for the former East and Central middle schools. It sought a zoning change for the school in East End, believing it had the best chance for redevelopment as an apartment building, like the former Franklin and Nelson Dewey elementary schools in the Allouez and East End neighborhoods, respectively.
Even after the district extended its deadlines for proposals for the former East and Central middle schools, the district had no prospects at hand.
In November 2003, the school district made the difficult decision to raze the aging school buildings rather than leave another vacant structure to deteriorate and create blight in the neighborhood. At the time, city officials were concerned long-vacant structures could cost city taxpayers a fortune. They had just spent nearly $500,000 to demolish the former St. Joseph’s Children’s Home that year after decades of disrepair.
Two years later, the vacant block where the former middle school stood caught the eye of the Housing Development Corp., and city of Superior. The nonprofit housing development organization created by the Superior Housing Authority joined forces with the city to buy vacant lots on the block bounded by 18th and 19th avenues east and East Fifth and Sixth Streets. The goal was to build new homes that reflected the surrounding middle-class neighborhood, affordable for people with modest incomes.
The most ambitious plan of Housing Development Corp., to date, created 10 new homes with two car garages lining a newly constructed alley on the block. Single- and two-story homes are intermingled with bungalows on 50-foot lots. Only one of the new homes hasn’t sold yet.
And, there’s room for growth.
Lots remain available on the corners of the block, creating additional residential development sites where the former school once stood.