Empty Topeka school gets new life

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An empty Topeka school building has found a new purpose. Bishop Elementary School in southwest Topeka was shut down in 2017, but now it’s getting new life. 

What was once Bishop Elementary will soon be one of the only professional development centers for teachers in the region. 

It will house a professional learning library and a recording studio for producing educational videos and podcasts. 

Angela Dick is an Instructional Coaching program coordinator for the Topeka district. 

“They can broadcast within the building, but they can also broadcast within the district, within the state and internationally as well. So they can contact people from NASA. They can contact people from other school districts who are also doing innovative things,” Dick said.  

There are a number of conference rooms of different sizes and an event space that can fit up to 400 people. 

The building will also benefit students. Gail Ramirez teaches robots and coding throughout the district. 
Her program will be based within the new building. 

“It will be nice. Because right now we have to borrow classroom space when there is no school and go in on weekends and work and set it all up and tear it down to get the classroom back to the way it was before school starts,” Ramirez said.  

Angela Dick also said this helps the district manage its budget. 

“It’s going to help offset costs for sending staff to professional opportunities instead of having them go out and about,” Dick said. 

That also saves the district and taxpayers money. 

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