October 7, 2022

Purdue Polytechnic High might stay in former Broad Ripple High School building

Indianapolis Public Schools closed Broad Ripple High School in 2017. Since then, it has tried to change a law that prevented the district from selling property before it was first offered to charter schools for $1. - Eric Weddle / WFYI

Indianapolis Public Schools closed Broad Ripple High School in 2017. Since then, it has tried to change a law that prevented the district from selling property before it was first offered to charter schools for $1.

Eric Weddle / WFYI

Purdue Polytechnic High School North announced a potential partnership this week with the Indianapolis Public Schools district to remain in the former Broad Ripple High School building beyond this school year. The district signed a one-year agreement with the charter school operator in April to use part of the facility under the condition that it would vacate the building by June 2023. 

Details of the proposed agreement between IPS and Purdue Polytechnic have not been made public.

The district closed Broad Ripple High School in 2017. Since then, it has tried to change a law that prevented the district from selling property before it was first offered to charter schools for $1. 

PPHS North opened on the city’s northside in 2019 and previously operated in a private building in the Broad Ripple neighborhood. Now roughly 100 students take classes in the original location, while about 200 students attend the 375,00 square foot Broad Ripple High School. But executive director Scott Bess wrote in a statement that school enrollment outpaced relocation plans “even before it was constructed.”

Previously Purdue Polytechnic leaders said the school would move into a mixed-use building on College Avenue for the 2023-24 academic year, but would need to use Broad Ripple high school building until then. The school enrolled 189 students last year, according to state data, and it expected to have roughly 300 students this fall.

This comes one month after IPS announced sweeping changes to close seven schools, merge others and break up K-8 schools by adding middle school buildings. In that plan, IPS suggests sharing the Broad Ripple High school building between PPHS North and a new middle school

But parents have voiced concern at public and school community meetings about allowing pre-teens to be in the same building as high schoolers, who can be older than 18 years of age. 

The IPS board of commissioners is scheduled to vote on the plan Nov. 9. The potential agreement between the district and PPHS North is expected to be voted on in November, separately, by IPS board members and the PPHS Board of Directors.

PPHS North is a STEM-focused school that is part of IPS’ innovation charter network. Innovation charter schools operate independently through special contracts that allow them to use resources such as the district’s facilities, transportation and special education services. In exchange, the district is able to count innovation charter students as part of its enrollment and test scores from the state’s standardized exams. 

Purdue Polytechnic High School opened its first charter school in 2017, the Englewood Campus on East Washington Street.

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