“City Council approved a controversial plan to turn the old South Shore High School into a police and fire training center Friday afternoon. In an online meeting, aldermen voted to allow the city to continue leasing the former school site through September 2028. The approval came without debate.
“The training center at the shuttered high school, 7627 S. Constance Ave., was created under a federal consent decree that requires ongoing training for officers on de-escalation strategies and accountability for their use of force.
“A specific curriculum for the training center has not been completed yet, but the site will be used for all officers on the force, according to former Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi. There are few restrictions on the types of training that could be conducted there.
“The ordinance only mandates the site be used as “a training center” and that police and fire departments follow the Board of Education’s aquatic safety policy if they renovate the pool for scuba training.
“Residents and community leaders raised concerns about the plan before it was approved by the city’s Housing Committee in March. Neighbors said Mayor Lori Lightfoot failed on her promise of a broad community input process, as they didn’t get time to properly vet the plan.
“Residents will be able to utilize the building’s auditorium for community meetings and recreational and performance activities, according to the mayor’s office.
“The South Shore High School building has been vacant since 2014, when school operations were moved to the newer South Shore International College Preparatory High School, 1955 E. 75th St.” (Evans, Block Club Chicago, 4/24/20)
Preservation Chicago supports the adaptive reuse of historic vacant Chicago Public Schools. We always encourage the City of Chicago and stakeholders to conduct open and transparent processes around reuse projects to ensure community input and support.
Closed South Shore School Will Become Police Training Center As City Council Approves Controversial Plan; Neighbors said in March they didn’t get a proper chance to vet the city’s plan. Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago, 4/24/20