Jan 3, 2024 - News

Newly built school opens in North Philadelphia

Thomas M. Peirce School in North Philadelphia

The new Thomas M. Peirce School. Photo: Michael D'Onofrio/Axios

Some students who return from winter break Wednesday will enter the newly-constructed Thomas M. Peirce School for the first time.

Why it matters: The previous building was shuttered in 2019 and later razed over environmental dangers ā€” and the Philadelphia School District hasn't built a new public school in North Philadelphia in more than 70 years.

State of play: The $44 million elementary school can serve 500 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

  • The new three-story school spans 77,000 square feet and is LEED-certified, per the district's website.
  • It includes more than 20 classrooms, a gymnatorium, a cafeteria, a maker space and a media center.

Flashback: The century-old building was shuttered in 2019 following the discovery of damaged asbestos and lead paint.

  • Students were relocated to a nearby facility during the construction.

The big picture: The district faces approximately $5 billion in needed capital repairs among its more than 300 facilities, which are more than 70 years old on average.

Plus, the district is considered underfunded and faces a looming fiscal crisis as federal pandemic money expires.

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