Former Fels HS building to be demolished

The demolition will begin next year.

SOURCE: GOOGLE MAPS

The former Fels High School building, at 1001 Devereaux Ave. in Oxford Circle, will be demolished next year.

The School District of Philadelphia has owned the property since 1950. Fels opened as a junior high school in 1954, then began a conversion into a high school in 1989.

Structural and environmental challenges at the building led the school district to buy ground at 5500 Langdon St. for a new school. John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital was demolished in 2006, and a new high school opened on the site in 2009.

Meanwhile, the former Fels housed an overflow of Laura H. Carnell seventh- and eighth-graders from 2009–12, when the building closed for good.

City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th dist.) held a meeting last week at the Carnell Little School House to update the community.

Parker told the crowd that no developers have contacted her about wanting to buy the property. Many people in the community want to see it used as the new headquarters for the 2nd Police District, which is based on Levick Street in the 15th district.

Jessica Binda, the school district’s construction department manager, explained that the demolition process will last from Jan. 8 to June 30.

Interior work will begin first.

“There will be no explosives used,” Binda said.

JPC Group Inc. will handle the construction. George Manogue, the head of demolition, promised residents the firm will protect air quality, limit noise and provide security.

“We’ll bend over backwards,” he said.

Binda and Manogue explained that dust will be controlled by water.

Jerry Junod, environmental manager at the school district, told residents that asbestos was removed, along with an underground storage tank, during work performed from September to December 2016.

In the question-and-answer period, project officials said they would clean up trash and weeds and hire an exterminator to control the rat problem. They will also ask the 2nd Police District and school district police to increase their patrols of the area so young people and the homeless don’t get inside. They discouraged thieves from breaking inside by noting that all copper and wire have been removed.

Neighbors weren’t convinced about the extra police patrols, arguing that the 2nd district is already short staffed.

Anyone who witnesses trespassing on the property should call 911. ••

For more information on the project, call 215–400–4730 or email capitalprograms@philasd.org