Public schools + artist studios, music practice spaces and startup offices

October 7th, 2012  |  Published in Ideas

Chicago is filled with grand neighborhood school architecture, but the infrastructure doesn’t always match up with current population demographics.  Schools may be closed due to low enrollment or converted to charter magnets, or if open, have large portions of the building unused.

Schools have space and Internet connections and are often only used during school hours. Schools could rent unused space at an affordable cost to artists needing studios, musicians needing practice space, or startups needing offices.  This tenancy would provide a new dimension of connection between public schools and their neighborhoods, particularly in the case of magnet cluster schools where the student body comes largely from outside the neighborhood.  Bringing more people into the schools on a regular basis offers the opportunity for resource sharing or leveraging the tenants for mentorship or cocurricular activities.  Though these relationships could be formalized, it would be an awesome experiment to see what kind of relationships evolve organically just from sharing space.