Ida B. Wells School Closes For Renovation

Ida B. Wells School Closes For Renovation
Photo: Andrew Dudley / Hoodline
By Nuala Sawyer - Published on December 23, 2014.
The 103-year-old Ida B. Wells High School shut down last Friday for a major, and overdue, renovation. 

Ida B. Wells is the oldest continuously operating school in the San Francisco Unified School District. Re-named in 1992 after the renowned African-American journalist and activist, the school was originally dedicated as the Denman School on September 10, 1911. It existed in several iterations before its present-day self, as a once-time home to both the Louise Lombard School For the Handicapped and Alamo Park Continuation High School. 

Today the school exists as an alternative to the traditional high school experience. Classes are small, there's a focus on individual care and learning, and it only accepts students 16 and older. In the Fall of 2013 169 students were listed as enrolled, with the majority population being Hispanic and African American. 

Ida B. Wells shut its doors last Friday, and won't be opening again until January of 2016. 

According to Principal Katie Pringle, "this will be a full gut renovation." The historic exterior of the school will be kept intact, but an entirely new floor plan will be built from the inside out. The building will be "taken down to the studs and rebuilt. Some of the classrooms will be reconfigured for better use of the space."

The expansion will include upgrades to the school's wellness offices, providing them with a bigger space. In addition, multipurpose areas will be reconfigured to accommodate the theater curriculum, and the kitchen will be completely redone to highlight the school's culinary program

As for where the students will be going for the spring semester, they're relocating temporarily to John O'Connell High School. 

Ida B. Wells is one of the last schools to be modernized from the long list of San Francisco public educational facilities affected by 2011's Proposition A bond measure.  We look forward to hearing more about the renovations, and welcoming the students back in 2016.