Plans in place for vacant McDonogh 11 school building

Old McDonogh No. 11 school has been untouched for six years.
Old McDonogh No. 11 school has been untouched for six years.
Updated: Mar. 19, 2019 at 6:15 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Driving down I-10 in Mid City it’s hard to miss the vacant McDonogh 11 school sitting near Cleveland Street.

Lisa Washington said she walks by the old building every day on her way to and from work.

“It looks condemned. It looks bad,” Washington said. “All the glass is busted out. It doesn’t make no sense."

The state preserved the building in 2011, preventing it from being demolished. It was then moved three times before landing at the corner of Claiborne Avenue and Canal Street in 2013. Then, it sat untouched for six years.

Preservationists worry the longer it sits, the more risk there is of losing an architectural gem, one that, according to Danielle Del Sol -- director of the New Orleans Preservation Resource Center -- was built in 1879.

“The elements in the city takes its toll on every building structure,” Del Sol said. “When there isn’t an owner to maintain a structure, to make sure that every window and door is sealed tight. To keep rain from intruding in the structure.”

The old school was once owned by the state, but in the last year ownership was transferred to LSU’s Health Science Center. Larry Hollier, the school’s chancellor, said he is planning to transfer the building to the center’s foundation.

“We’d like to see it not sitting there as just an empty shell. We’d like something to be done with it,” Hollier. said. “To have them try to do a sale of the school for someone to take it, move it and put it into use."

Del Sol said something needs to be done soon or the price to restore it to its original condition could skyrocket.

“Every year that passes, it deteriorates more and more, and great things can still happen with this building. I’m really hopeful that they do,” Del Sol said.

Hollier said the Board of Supervisors will need to approve the transfer before it can be sold -- a process he believes could take months.

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