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Mabra Holeyfield

by Mabra Holeyfield

I have read several articles…about plans to tear down and rebuild schools. The reason given is that it would cost too much to address the deficiencies at the school. The cost to address whatever deficiencies that might exist is never given. I’m not surprised because it’s obviously not true.

For the past 35 years, I have watched developers rebuild downtown Memphis by turning empty warehouses and office buildings into apartments, condos and hotels. It was rare for a building to be torn down.  Even though these structures were often completely gutted and rebuilt, the developers found it more cost efficient than tearing them down. Actually, I have been involved in a few commercial renovations myself.

Addressing deficiencies at a school should not require major interior work. Classrooms and offices do not become obsolete.

The point is that spending millions of dollars tearing down and rebuilding schools will benefit the bottom lines of the contractors and developers but will not improve the educational outcomes of our children.

About 85 percent of inner city kids are behind when they enter first grade. In order for them to catch up, they need individual attention not a new building.  We have to make more investment in human resources.