However on the question of relocating vs. renovating, which the Jacksonville Board of Education will decide today, not all facets of the issue have been considered.
In addition to improving Jacksonville’s school system, the board must consider how its decision will either stabilize a neighborhood or contribute to decentralizing our city’s infrastructure.
I want to see Jacksonville thrive. Instead I see a town that is being ripped apart — businesses closing, a beautiful town center being abandoned. What is being ignored is that attracting businesses and residents to our community involves reinvesting in our existing city. What sense does it make to needlessly use up our community’s open spaces, move our elementary school to the outskirts of town and abandon a neighborhood?
A quote from a Pennsylvania study on renovating historic schools sums up our opportunity: “Renovating an older school may not be as simple as buying virgin land and starting from scratch. But with careful thought and planning, a school district can provide an outstanding educational facility for its students and promote the social, environmental and economic health of the community at the same time.” (“Renovate or Replace: The case for restoring and reusing older school buildings,” www.saveourlandsaveourtowns.org.)