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Bruce Monroe dreaming. (DMPED)

A few months ago, prospects for a new school on top of the rubble at Bruce Monroe Elementary in Park View looked dim—even funding for a park on the site in the mean time seemed thin. Since then, basketball courts and lawns have bloomed on the site, courtesy of a beefed-up budget. There’s even a mural in the works. And yesterday, the District released a request for proposals that outlines a comprehensive mixed-use development, which could get rolling in a matter of months after a winner is selected. This thing may happen after all!

The conceptual plan in the RFP outlines two options: Either construct two buildings, one with retail and housing and the other for a 75,000-square-foot school. Or, make the whole thing commercial/residential, and use the proceeds to subsidize substantial improvements at Park View Elementary, where Bruce Monroe’s 450 students are now housed. The RFP also asks for two housing plans: Either maximum affordability, with at least 30 percent of the units priced below 60 percent of area median income (and half of those below 15 percent of AMI); or maximum school subsidy, with only 20 percent of the units priced at 80 percent of AMI.

Which starts to get to the funding. Unlike several properties disposed recently, the land will either be leased or sold to the developer at a “fair market value,” which may provide funding for the development of the school. For the rest of the development, applicants are required to submit detailed financing plans, which cannot include any money from the District’s capital budget. The city is trying to get this school built with as little public money as possible—which, in the current fiscal situation, would seem to make perfect sense.

We’ll know who’s likely to bid on the project by August 10th, when the pre-bid conference is held. Bids are due October 14th.