In a recent announcement, Mayor Annise Parker revealed plans to purchase the old Rufus Cage Elementary School, located at the intersection of Telephone Road and Baird Street.
The building, which was built in 1910, is named after Rufus Cage, former school-board president. The building was being used as an elementary school until 1983 when the school moved to a newer building, leaving the old one vacant.
The City of Houston has offered to buy the building for $100,000 in credit which will go to the Houston Independent School District (HISD), to be used for the acquisition of another city property or towards a right-of-way for HISD.
Earlier this month, HISD trustees approved the sale, yet the transaction is still waiting on the city council’s vote before going into effect.
Another force to be reckoned with is the people of the neighborhood surrounding Cage Elementary. The school has been a major landmark of their neighborhood for over a century, and many people are adamantly against demolishing the structure. Prior to the City’s offer, HISD had considered selling the land, to the dismay of neighborhood residents.
“Congratulations to the determined citizens that rallied to save this historic school building,” Councilwoman Melissa Noriega said in a released statement. ”We look forward to its use as an innovative and beautiful public space.”
Mayor Parker and the City of Houston are also working towards acquiring a landmark designation for the land that would prohibit the demolition of the former school. Instead, Parker would like to revamp the building and convert it into something that can be enjoyed by the entire community.
“Provided City Council votes to approve this plan, the City will work with the neighborhood to seek proposals for conversion of the building to another use, possibly a community facility,” Mayor Annise Parker said in a press release.
The schoolhouse currently encompasses a triangular 28,700 square foot lot.