By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Asbestos and astronomical remediation costs forced the shuttering of the old Schenley High School three years ago.

Since then, the district has had to maintain the building along with a dozen other vacant schools.

“Vacant schools are a tremendous budgetary burden to the district,” Ira Weiss, of the Pittsburgh Public Schools,  said.

On Thursday, in ads placed in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the district will be putting vacant schools like Bon Air and the old Belmar School in Homewood up for sale.

The district is looking to save maintenance costs and perhaps pocket some money to help in tough budgetary times.

There are 15 schools in all, including Schenley and Pittsburgh Obama Academy — the former Reiznestein Middle School — which is a prime location situated just across the street from the newly-developed Bakery Square in East Liberty.

“Obviously it’s in a region where there’s a lot of development, so we expect to get a lot of attention on that,” Weiss said.

The sale is being applauded by real estate experts who say it’s time the city unload these properties.

“Great news for city taxpayers in the sense that whoever comes forward will put these properties back on the tax rolls and create some tax revenue that way,” Keefe Ellis, of Langholz Wilson Ellis, said.

And even if the buildings don’t bring in a huge windfall the district would still like to unload them in these times of tight budgets and cutbacks.

Pittsburgh Public Schools
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