By Francis White
School's in session, or better yet the session to save the former School 77 on Buffalo's west side will be this Wednesday (tomorrow September 10th).
Let me tell you a little secret; I know the former school building has reuse potential.
Although I didn't personally attend the school in it's days of operation as part of the city of Buffalo's school system, I was inside the building while it was active for a short time. The school building was used as a temporary headquarters for the episode of "Extreme Home Make Over" that filmed in Buffalo (on the west side) about 4-5 years ago. The building served the show's hundreds of volunteers and workers on a 24 hour basis.
I was one of the community volunteers for the show, and I remember it like it was yesterday. For a week the building teemed with life. You felt like you were on a Hollywood set. The trailers for the show's cast, producers, technical, and camera staff were all lined up outside the school's Normal Avenue side. There was an orientation in school's auditorium for volunteers at the beginning of the week. The cafeteria was used as a 24 hour mess hall for the show's workers and volunteers. The kitchen was used as a prep area for the food. The main office, the gym, and many of the schools former classrooms were used for one reason or another.
That was the craziest time ever in the history of the reuse of an unoccupied community resource in Buffalo. I not only saw, but was apart of it. I witnessed the city, the community, and the neighborhood coming together quickly to try to capture some national spotlight. Why not do the same thing again?
The community congress PUSH Buffalo hosted a while back was the battery in the back of this new initiative. The public meeting to save the former Buffalo Public School 77 on Wednesday is just the first step in a process that will be a locally driven extreme makeover of a community asset.
The meeting starts at 6pm. It's taking place at Our Lady of Loretto Rectory located at 301 14th St in the city of Buffalo. There will be FREE food. PUSH Buffalo wants to know what you want to see. Come out and let your voice be heard. Let's pack the place and put our heads together to figure out how to save this building in our neighborhood. We did it once, so let's do it again.
Posted on Tue, September 9, 2014
by Francis White