Gladstone School is an abandoned school in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

History

Gladstone School, designed by architect O.M. Topp, replaced the nearby Hazelwood Elementary School. 6 The new building was dedicated on May 7, 1915. An addition was completed in 1923 that included several new classrooms and an auditorium that could hold nearly 400 students. At the addition’s completion, Gladstone changed to a junior high school.

An annex, completed in 1926, contained 14 classrooms, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool and two playrooms. 6 In total, there were 45 classrooms between the two buildings.

Gladstone changed to a senior high school in 1958 and a middle school in 1976. 6

Decline and Closure

By the 1960’s, Pittsburgh’s schools were rife with racial violence, with knifings and street fights occurring on a near daily basis. 2 On February 16 and 17, 1969, at least six students were injured, including two stabbed, as a result of a near-riot. At one point, arresting officers escorting two girls from the school were showered by bottles, glasses and other debris from a second floor window.

Gladstone School was first proposed and approved for closure in January 1976 over its low enrollment of 239 students. 8 The buildings were set to close in June. After months of testimony from Hazelwood area residents, the school board unanimously voted to keep Gladstone open with a limited enrollment until a feeder pattern was established and that the buildings were renovated.

In June 1998, the school board once again approved closing Gladstone by June 2000 because of extensive renovations that were needed and below-capacity enrollment. 9 The closure date was later postponed to 2002.

In June 2001, Gladstone School closed, with its 303 students were reassigned to Milliones Middle School. 10

Redevelopment

The Gladstone School had two purchase offers by November 2015, one for the asking price of $250,000 and another for $1.5 million. 3 The Gladstone Community Partnership, a collaboration of the Center of Life youth development non-profit, the Hazelwood Initiative, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group and the Make it Right Foundation offered $250,000 in mid-summer. 3 4

The Gladstone Community Partnership proposed an early childhood development center, mixed-income housing, headquarters for The Mission Continues veterans group and possibly a full-service health care center. 4

Gaugamela Holdings, a biotechnology company, offered $1.5 million in late September. 3 Gaugamela Holdings, based in Uptown, is an ornamental horticulture and algae biofuel technology startup. The firm proposed a biotech research and greenhouse complex and tech incubator, with day care and performance space for employees and the community, in the former school.

The Pittsburgh School Board of Public Education, in a vote held on November 24, approved the bid from Gladstone Community Partnership even though Gaugamela’s offer was six times more. 4 5 The school board was worried that Gaugamela did not have the financial support to pay their offer price after it conducted a financial background check. When contacted, people whose names were listed as backing the project said they were not associated with the company.

Gaugamela filed a complaint to stop the sale to Gladstone Community Partnership but it was dismissed in February 22, 2017. 4

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