Neighbors ask district to reconsider Westport High redevelopment options


School Board President Jon Hile said the board will consider new community comments about the future of Westport High School.

The future of Westport High School is no clearer after a meeting to discuss changing redevelopment options last night.

But school board president Jon Hile urged people asking for the district to reconsider development options to trust the process, saying the board would consider the feedback from the meeting before deciding what to do next.

“The future of this building is exceptionally important to me,” he said.

The process, Hile said, will be for the board to consider this latest round of input from the community and decide what to do next.

Many neighbors from the surrounding Old Hyde Park and Southmoreland neighborhoods made it clear they hope that means the district will reconsider a proposal from Sustainable Development Partners that has been off the table since the district administration recommended its sale to Foutch Brothers in March.

Many neighbors have also said in the past that they think it is important to preserve the high school as an educational facility, to ensure Midtown has it as an option in the future.

Sustainable Development Partners is redeveloping Westport Middle School and had originally proposed a project that included both schools. The district administration approved the sale of the middle school to that group, but recommended sale of Westport High school to Foutch Brothers, a company which is also has a plan to save Kemper Arena.

The Foutch Brothers proposal for mixed-use development was popular with many people in the neighborhoods after they heard that Academie Lafayette Charter School wanted to work with Foutch Brothers to open a charter high school.

But in June, the school district announced it was exploring opening a joint charter school with Academie Lafayette at Southwest High School, seemingly taking away the option at Westport.  Steve Foutch told the group last night that his company is willing to work with a charter school at the site if the school district approves such a plan and has talked with several charter school groups, but has no firm commitment.

“Academie Lafayette figured very importantly into the proposal,” said one Southmoreland resident. “Now that it’s gone, we want to hear from the Sustainable Development Partners again.”

At last night’s meeting, Foutch CEO Steve Foutch again laid out his company’s plan for fifty percent residential housing and fifty percent office and community space. He also wants to reuse the playing fields for youth sports and as part of a fitness club.

Residents expressed concerns about parking issues, whether there is a strong market for apartments given other recent development projects, and whether neighborhood residents would still have access to the high school track, which they say is used by the nearby community.

After Foutch’s presentation, residents made it clear that they hope the district will reopen the discussion of which developer should be allowed to buy the high school. Repurposing director Shannon Jaxx said the district will consider those comments and other written comments collected last night and make a recommendation to the school board on how to move forward.


  1. Janene says:

    I live right next to the parking lot of Westport high school, and have a 10 ear old going to a charter school already. It would be great to see that building being used as a school facility. There are not many options for parents living in the midtown area for schooling. After my daughter is done with Crossraods Academy I have no idea where to send her for high school. I got real excited when I heard a proposal for the Academie Lafayette high school, but let down to find out it wasn’t going to happen. It needs to just stay a school for the community. No more apartments need to move in to this neighborhood, there are quite enough causing problems already. I also have a baby on the way and we don’t plan on moving, so it would be great to know the future of schooling for both my kids. There’s my opinion

Leave a Comment