Broad Ripple High School Advocacy
IPS hosted a public meeting at the Indianapolis Art Center Tuesday, March 26, 2019. They revealed the results of the Market Analysis conducted in Fall 2018 by SB Friedman out of Chicago. The report is located in a link to the right, click to read it. The graphic below is from their presentation. It is not representative of the BRVA’s views or efforts toward redevelopment. (See our corrected apartment numbers below).
Please note that the BRVA wants to correct SB Friedman’s numbers on recent apartments added, as their numbers were inaccurate. They used this recent inventory to justify the need for 450-570 additional apartment units on this site. We disagree with this assessment, as they missed 302 units that have been recently added. According to their own threshold, this would reduce the number of apartments needed from 450-570 by over 300.
Here’s what they included: Coil: 151, Park 66 Flats: 105, River House: 86, The Win: 24 Units
What they did not include: The Line: 130 Units, The Ripple: 35 Units, Monon Place II: 136 units (16 1br, 100 2br & 21 3br) built/finished in 2014.
The community was invited to give feedback in small groups after the presentation. Take a brief survey here if you would like to give feedback directly to IPS. NOTE: We take issue with the second to last question, however, as it doesn’t give adequate options. After dozens of conversations with our membership and a wide variety of Broad Ripple stakeholders, we believe that the public feedback was again consistent with the findings of our 2017 public survey (which IPS received right away). The results of our survey can also be found in a link to the right. Generally, citizens felt that apartments and retail were not appropriate or desirable primary uses. Rather, they felt as though scholastic and community uses should continue to be the primary use of the parcel. Additionally, there was widespread acknowledgement for the need for additional office space to support daytime businesses.
On September 18, 2017, the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) board officially voted to close and sell the Broad Ripple High School (BRHS) facility and property and move the magnet for the arts to Shortridge High School. While it is disappointing, we understand the decision. This is what the IPS board feels it needs to do to best serve its district.
Previously on June 28, 2017, IPS had announced the results of a study that recommended the closing of three local high schools, including Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities. Prior to that announcement an IPS Task Force spent many months analyzing the dilemma of declining enrollment of IPS high schools. IPS current total enrollment is 5,352 students, while the seven area high schools have the capacity of 14,450 students. Broad Ripple Magnet High School had approximately 500 students when it closed in May of 2018, with a capacity of 2,400 students.
While the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA) understands the IPS recommendation to close BRHS, we believe that as the district and its board evaluate options for future use of the school property, it is essential that the facility continues to be used for public education purposes.
Here are three reasons to keep in mind as this process moves forward.
1. Broad Ripple possesses a long-standing tradition of neighborhood schools, and it is imperative for area residents to have public school options for their children.
Broad Ripple High School was first established in 1886 and became IPS’ fourth high school in 1923. It has provided a sense of identity and community for more than 130 years. A number of Broad Ripple High School alumni have stayed in or returned to the village to shape the community and grow its businesses.
Former Indiana Pacer and Broad Ripple High School alumnus George Hill sent a Tweet immediately after the closing was announced asking for investors to help bring the school back. Hill and other alumni consistently mention their deep connection to the Broad Ripple community stemming from their time in school. Such bonds provide the roots for a community’s continued growth.
2. Maintaining a high school within village boundaries will increase resident retention and raise the profile of Broad Ripple among potential new residents moving to the Indianapolis area.
Yes, boutiques and coffee shops are wonderful amenities, but schools are often the primary decision factor for families choosing a home or neighborhood. Given the desirable location of the facility, surrounded by several amazing arts and cultural organizations, the opportunities for unique collaboration are endless.
Broad Ripple is certainly one of Indianapolis’ best community success stories. For more than a century, the neighborhood has thrived while constantly evolving to best serve the needs of residents. However, without a viable, neighborhood-based high school, Broad Ripple’s long-lasting community development and sustainability are unachievable.
3. A neighborhood school is an essential part of Broad Ripple’s infrastructure and must serve as a hub for learning and community growth.
It is particularly important to preserve a school on this parcel as a hub for education, art and community. Throughout its 130-year existence, Broad Ripple High School has opened its doors to the community and invited it in for special events, performances, sporting events and community gathering. Maintaining a high school in Broad Ripple creates a diverse mix of educational, business and entertainment offerings throughout the village.
The BRVA believes strongly in community input and involvement throughout this process. We’ve heard others call for a community task force to be formed and are very supportive of that idea. Open communication and meaningful collaboration will lead to the best solution for all involved.
The BRVA communicated our position at the IPS board of school commissioners meeting, which was held at Broad Ripple Magnet High School on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
The BRVA has been working with IPS regarding the future of the facility. It is unknown when IPS will move forward.
The Broad Ripple Village Association strongly believes that the community should be able to shape the facility’s reuse. An Open House for Broad Ripple residents was held on Thursday, August 24, 2017 which gathered initial community input. In addition, an online survey was available to the community August 29-September 12. A copy of survey results may be viewed here: BRHS Survey Report.
A Community Opportunity
Although the IPS decision is disappointing for our Village, we view this as an opportunity for community involvement to shape the future of the Broad Ripple High School site. We believe the community has the power to advocate for a reuse of the site that will benefit the Village and its families into the future.