What Happens After A School Closes?

The Chicago Police Department uses a closed elementary school to train with their dogs. (CBS)

The Chicago Police Department uses a closed elementary school to train with their dogs. (CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS)  —  We now know 49 Chicago elementary school will close this fall.

So, what will happen to all of those buildings – once the children leave?

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at the possibilities.

Price Elementary School, 4351 S. Drexel, has been closed for one year. The halls are quiet and desks empty.

However, there is still life on these grounds.

The Chicago Police Department uses the building for police dog training.

“Probably 50 percent of our searches or calls for service for finding somebody in a building involve schools,” said CPD trainer Jim Owen.  “So that’s why we use these buildings.”

When the dogs aren’t here, community residents attend church service in the gym.

Jennifer Boyce uses the same space to hold monthly meetings for a mentoring and tutoring program called City Year.

“This is an amazing thing,” Boyce said. “We need space that’s near public transportation.”

Price is of the few closed schools being used.

CPS is looking for creative and productive uses for more than 60 buildings.

Officials say they welcome for-profit business and will give a break to non-profit agencies that need a good space to operate a good cause. City Year only pays $6,800 a year.

“Chicago is not a cheap place to find space,” Boyce said. “This allows us to be able to do what we need to do, and it’s also affordable.”

Before any building is sold, rented or developed CPS officials say they will elicit input from the local politician and consider the needs of the community.


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