What should be done about abandoned schools in Birmingham?

What should be done about abandoned schools in Birmingham?

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Abandoned school properties continue to be a problem in some Birmingham communities.

"It's kind of degrading - grow up and nobody attend to it or anything," said Ensley resident Herman Hall.

Ensley High School closed its doors about ten years ago. Now the building sits empty. People who live nearby are concerned about the building in the middle of their neighborhood.

"It's crime. People see that place as a meeting spot to do drugs, guns, anything like that," Hall said.

People can see the grass is overgrown at the old Ensley High School.

Neighbors in the area said they don't want the high school torn down. "I think it can be utilized as a community center for people here in the community," Hall said.

Down the road, Birmingham public work crews are cutting grass around Bush Middle School, which is also sitting empty.

In downtown Birmingham, there is Powell School - the first school in Birmingham built back in 1888. It hasn't been a school for years. There is overgrown grass. Boarded up windows. Some broken windows. It's right across the street from Park Place apartments.

The city of Birmingham turned it over to the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. The non-profit is looking for a developer to save the building for its historic importance to the city.

The Birmingham school system wants to sell some of their surplus properties and that would mean more money for them, but right now they are looking for developers willing to make that investment.

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