This morning afforded the rare opportunity to celebrate a magnanimous, tangible win for our entire community. We got to come together to celebrate the official opening and dedication of Purdue Polytechnic High School’s North campus at 1405 Broad Ripple Avenue.
Remarks were made by Principal Keeanna Warren, PPHS Head of Schools Scott Bess, myself and Ersal Ozdemir of Keystone Construction. On hand were several PPHS Board members, State Representative Behning, members of the BRVA Advocacy Committee, Brandon Brown and Kristin Grimme of The Mind Trust, and more.
This is the best example of a community coming together. When IPS closed Broad Ripple High School in May of 2018, it became my goal – along with many stakeholders – to regain reputable high school options for our neighborhood. We aren’t yet finished, but having Purdue Polytechnic High School’s North campus in Broad Ripple is an important start.
At the end of last summer, IPS hadn’t moved forward to repurpose or sell the former BRHS site. It looked like we were going to lose this opportunity to Pike Township, as PPHS could not secure an appropriate location in Broad Ripple. At the last minute, Keystone Construction stepped up and bought the old CICF building to to renovate it and house PPHS. Given the short time frame, this was a herculean effort by both PPHS and Keystone to get building ready for students Aug 1 2019 (this week!).
Though the facility is not big enough to accommodate the probable growth past 2-3 years, Keystone has promised to find them a permanent home within 1 mile of the existing location. I, along with the BRVA and other community stakeholders, will help this happen.
The community has been incredibly welcoming to the Purdue Polytechnic High School family. Currently, about 2/3 of the enrolled freshman class (with a few sophomores as well) is non-white and 2/3 are from low income households. This diversity is another thing that sets PPHS apart, as equitable opportunity for quality education is a hallmark for their mission. In the long term, helping to close the STEM gap in our workforce is vital to the success of our local economy. In the near term, increasing the diversity in Broad Ripple is a great thing. Please join me in welcoming these students into our neighborhood!
Below are my remarks from today’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
Good morning! This morning I reflected on the long journey this has been, and there have been some great moments along the way. The first is when I found out – a couple years ago now – that Purdue Polytechnic High School wanted to make Broad Ripple its second home. The second was meeting Head of Schools Scott Bess. It was immediately apparent that he was the real deal, and that this was going to happen. Thirdly, when Ersal Ozdemir of Keystone answered the call of the community and gave PPHS a home.
Thanks to Principal Keeanna Warren for having me today; what a privilege. I look forward to working with you in any way I can to help this school and all of your students succeed. Thanks to Scott Bess for his leadership and vision for the Purdue Polytechnic High Schools.
This campus is a milestone for Purdue Polytechnic High Schools because it represents the success of a STEM-focused educational model. As Purdue Polytechnic continues to expand its foot print we are thrilled that they have chosen Broad Ripple for its North campus. This is a milestone for our community as well. Having a reputable high school back in our neighborhood could not be more impactful. We will continue to work alongside you and your students to make sure you are embraced by our community.
This would not have been possible without the collaboration of many, including but not limited to The Broad Ripple Village Assocaition and our Advocacy Committee: Kent Springer, David Amstutz, President John Josh. The Mind Trust and leadership from Brandon Brown and Kristin Grimme. Community organizations like St. Paul’s Indy and the Indianapolis Art Center. Of course, the bold leadership of Ersal Ozdemir and Keystone Construction, not just for stepping up now, but also to the commitment to finding this school a permanent home. Lastly, there are hundreds of residents, business owners and community stakeholders that have stepped up to make PPHS feel welcome, like my proud Boilermaker mom Rosemary Fanning, who is here today and very excited! You all have my deepest gratitude.
Today’s ribbon cutting marks the start of Purdue Polytechnic’s impact on the community and its commitment to growing here. We’re looking forward to all that is to come. Thank you!