Hidden City gives a nice look back at the imposing Bok Vocational High, 8th and Mifflin streets, which is one of 22 schools the district is closing at the end of the school year.
But tucked way at the bottom of the story is this depressing paragraph:
The decision to close Bok Tech will have other ramifications. Southwark Elementary, just across the street, shares Bok’s boiler. Even empty of students, Bok can’t be decommissioned (and put to another use) until Southwark has an independent heating system. This seems unlikely given the dire financial straits of the district. Bok will quite possibly sit vacant for years to come.
Back when the district announced Bok was closing, we wondered what sort of future the building would hold. Vacancy was not one of our fantasies.
Aside from the obvious drag a longterm vacancy could have on that part of the neighborhood, Hidden City raises a good point about what the loss of the school’s training programs will mean.
Robin Ricca-Bouden, a culinary arts instructor at Bok Tech for the past four years, … stresses that career and technical training is important because not every student is destined for college.
“The skills that the students learn are in need every day. Where would we be without any carpenters, nursing assistants, electricians, auto repair technicians, or culinary artists?” she asks. “So many careers are started in schools like Bok. Not only are they working, they are supporting themselves, and some of them are even supporting their families.”
The whole story is worth a read, and there are some lovely photos of the inside. Check it out here.