Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) has purchased the Penn Ridge Manor apartment building at 3444 N. Pennsylvania St., adjacent to Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy, and is considering new uses for the property.
“We recently renovated the historic Shortridge building at 3401 N. Meridian St., and started a new magnet program there in 2009,” said Superintendent Eugene G. White. “Like many of our urban school locations, this site is very congested, so we have always been interested in acquiring properties adjacent to the school when they become available.”
The Penn Ridge Manor building has been vacant and boarded up for at least five years. IPS made an offer on the building in September 2010 and completed the purchase of the .685-acre property from out-of-state owners in December 2010.
“We acquired the building with the intent to demolish it,” said IPS Chief of Facilities Management Steve Young. “Our goal is to add a new gym to the school, which will be a huge benefit to the students and local residents, who also will have access to the facility. The IPS School Board voted in March to begin to select an architect for the gym design.”
“Shortridge’s current gymnasium does not meet current Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) standards,” said White. “Our magnet program offers our students a rigorous academic curriculum; our students need access to quality facilities to host a variety of athletics as well.
“Because of the sound management of IPS Capital Improvements Program projects, we have sufficient money set aside to construct a gym without raising additional taxes. Shortridge is the only IPS high school still using a gym built in 1928.”
IPS has applied for a demolition permit for the 3444 N. Pennsylvania St. property.
“We appreciate the importance of bringing Shortridge up to state standards for athletics and meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Jackie Nytes, City-County Council member. “We also value having a strong high school in this neighborhood to enhance the residential and commercial development of the area, but we also appreciate the value of historic structures when we weigh competing priorities.”
“We have done many things in the Shortridge renovation to preserve the historic nature of the area,” added Young. “We restored the limestone columns and carvings that face Meridian Street and recently added a new brick and iron fence around the track and soccer fields that looks as if it has been there for years. We will ensure the selected architect respects the historic feel of the school and the neighborhood.”