April 22, 2019

Purdue Polytechnic High School headed to Broad Ripple

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Purdue Polytechnic High School will open its second Indianapolis location in Broad Ripple this summer, but not on the former Broad Ripple High School campus — at least not yet.

The STEM-focused charter high school announced Tuesday a partnership with Keystone Group, the developer that pitched an ambitious redevelopment of the former high school campus into a 20,000-seat soccer stadium for Indy Eleven with hundreds of apartments, retail space, an office building, hotel, underground parking and school. The $550 million project was outlined in a letter from Keystone CEO and Indy Eleven owner Ersal Ozdemir to the Indianapolis Public Schools board and administration.

Ozdemir and IPS are currently lobbying the Indiana General Assembly for legislation that would make the project possible — Ozdemir is looking for a tax deal to help fund the stadium project and IPS wants a change in state law to allow for redevelopment of the high school. 

It’s unclear if and when those deals might go through. In the meantime, Purdue Polytechnic High School will open in a temporary space, two blocks east of the high school.

Under the deal with Keystone, the high school will occupy a 12,400-square-foot building at 1405 Broad Ripple Ave., formerly home to the Central Indiana Community Foundation. According to a news release, the school will open in July, following minor renovations, with an inaugural class of up to 150 freshmen.

The building will be owned and operated by Indianapolis-based Keystone, according to the release, and will serve as a temporary location for the school while a permanent facility in Broad Ripple is secured in partnership with Keystone.

“Once we learned about Purdue Polytechnic High School’s desire for space in Broad Ripple, we were immediately excited to help in purchasing and developing a building to fit their needs,” said Ozdemir, a Purdue alumnus. “Our team will work through renovations quickly to ensure a successful opening for the high school this summer and over the next 12 months identify a permanent home for Purdue Polytechnic High School in the Broad Ripple Village.”

This will be the second location for Purdue Polytechnic High School. The first opened two years ago in downtown Indianapolis and has been a popular choice. Operated in conjunction with Purdue University, the goal of the innovative school is to serve as a pipeline to the university from underrepresented communities and groups.

Purdue Polytechnic has been open about its intentions to pick Broad Ripple for its second location. Last year, the school approached IPS with a proposal to join another charter high school group — Indianapolis Classical Schools, which runs Herron and Riverside high schools — in taking over the vacated Broad Ripple building.

At the time, IPS said it was not ready to make a decision about the high school. It later rolled out a yearlong process for evaluating redevelopment options for the site.

Originally, Purdue Polytechnic officials said the timeline IPS was working on would not match theirs. The school had already committed to opening its second location for the 2019-20 school year. This new plan opens the door to an eventual move into the Broad Ripple High School redevelopment, should it come to fruition.

“We have worked diligently with the residents and community leaders in Broad Ripple to ensure students and families on the north side of Indianapolis have an accessible, high-quality educational option. We’re thrilled that we have found a centrally located building and can deliver our unique curriculum to more Marion County students,” said Purdue Polytechnic High Schools Head of Schools Scott Bess. 

The Broad Ripple community has said it wants a school to remain in the village, and the neighborhood association has been bullish about finding a way to retain a school presence at the former high school site.

“This is wonderful news for Broad Ripple,” said Josh John, president of the Broad Ripple Village Association. “Following the closure of our neighborhood high school, citizens expressed strong support for a high school option in Broad Ripple. BRVA and Purdue Polytechnic High School worked together to find a suitable facility and can now move forward to offer Broad Ripple families an innovative, attractive public education model. 

“When the school’s interest in Broad Ripple became public last year, citizen feedback was overwhelmingly positive. This announcement shows what can be accomplished given effective collaboration and a shared commitment to making our community the best it can be.”

This story will be updated. 

Call IndyStar education reporter Arika Herron at (317) 201-5620 or email her at Arika.Herron@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ArikaHerron.

Read or Share this story: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2019/02/05/purdue-polytechnic-high-school-headed-broad-ripple/2775783002/

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