Changes are happening at two schools closed by the Tucson Unified School District that may help communities combat vandalism and protect home property values.
Cleaning is underway at the old Rogers Elementary School as the new Sky Islands public school prepares to open next month.
"We're going to be bringing in a team of cleaners to get the floors ready," Sky Islands Director Shari Popen said. "Once that's done then we're ready to put the furniture out."
Workers are repairing the electric and plumbing on the TUSD campus that's been empty since 2010.
"TUSD has been Johnny-on-the-spot in terms of getting us keys, getting us the paint colors," Popen said.
That's good news for a site that had turned into a neighborhood eyesore, as vandalism was so bad at the school. Progress has been made, and only the second wing of the school won't be finished in time for the first school year.
Vandalism is also a major concern for those living near the recently-closed Shumaker school campus.
"When you have a school with nobody around and a locked gate with nobody watching, it's going to happen," neighborhood leader Kenneth Bertschy said.
He is working with the Ward two city council office to turn the school's playground into a public park.
"There is only one place where kids can play in a park, and they have to cross Broadway," Bertschy said. "You're not going to let your five-year-old do that."
TUSD and the Parks and Recreation Department will work together to keep the field cut and green.
The gates to the park are expected to open any day now.
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