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What's next for the vacant American Hebrew Academy? GCS says it could put it to use

The private Jewish high school closed its doors in 2019 and the 100-acre property has remained vacant since.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Editor's Note: The attached video is from a previous story on the closure of the American Hebrew Academy. 

Guilford County School leaders said Wednesday the empty American Hebrew Academy could potentially be used as a space for foster students in the district.

At a press conference Wednesday to discuss the recent passage of the $1.7B school bond, GCS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras said the vacant campus could be used to educate and house foster students in the district. 

"So there might be some space to think about how to work with Health and Human Service for an innovative partnership where we can put multiple schools on that space, it's beautiful, and also have a beautiful space for students who are in foster care," Dr. Contreras said. 

The American Hebrew Academy closed in 2019 due to financial reasons. It planned to reopen in 2020 as AHA International School, but that never happened. In 2021, the federal government was looking at the site as a possible emergency influx shelter for migrant children. Guilford County Commission Chairman Skip Alston said Thursday that he had not heard of any more interest from U.S. DHHS on the site. 

RELATED: Greensboro's American Hebrew Academy Abruptly Closes

In 2019, the school was valued at $84.5 million. The 100-acre campus has 31 buildings, 35 resident staff apartments, an 88,000 square food $18 million dollars athletic center, and a natatorium along with a 22-acre lake. It's a space Dr. Contreras said could be put to good use. 

"We are constantly looking for housing for children who are in foster care and there is a beautiful site right there where they can go to school and live at the same time," said Dr. Contreras.

William Scarborough, the director of business affairs with the American Hebrew Academy, said they have only had one discussion with GCS about the property, looking to see if the district could use the AHA fields. However, that plan did not come to fruition. Scarborough said the school would be open to talking with GCS about their interest in the property. He said they've had other interested parties, but nothing concrete. 

Dr. Contreras said on Wednesday that the American Hebrew Academy is "extraordinarily expensive," but she would reach out to Guilford County officials about how to get "seed money" from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for future use. 

RELATED: U.S. DHHS looks at using American Hebrew Academy as potential emergency shelter for unaccompanied migrant children

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