MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Sims Taylor sits on his porch, he looks directly at the dull and decaying Southwest Prep Academy building in South Memphis.
He’s lived in his neighborhood a long time.
Taylor told WREG’s Shay Arthur over the years he’s watched the area become infested with crime.
He said the empty school adds to the problem.
“A lot of stuff is going on over here.”
Chris Caldwell is the new Shelby County School Board chairman.
“We’ve heard from communities where we’ve closed schools that having an empty building diminishes the community and provides the opportunity for illegal things to happen,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said the district has tried to sell some of the empty buildings before, but never received much interest.
Right now there are five schools set to be demolished including Longview Middle School, Coro Lake, Prospect Elementary, Memphis Health Careers Academy and Southwest Prep Academy.
Atlay Mosby lives by Southwest Prep too.
Llike Taylor, she’s glad to see it go away as well.
“Something else would be good for the neighborhood because there’s three churches around here and we all trying to do the same thing for the interest of the children,” said Mosby.
Demolition is one thing but several people WREG talked to believe something could be done to breathe new life into these vacant buildings.
“We can find other uses for it. After school programs, mentoring programs,” said Ronald Alexander.
Caldwell said the chances of someone offering to buy the empty buildings this late in the process is slim.
WREG was told demolition is expected to happen in the next few months.