The Chicago Reporter is tracking the status of the public schools that were shuttered five years ago in the largest mass school closure in U.S. history. There are still nine schools that have yet to sell or be marked for reuse. They are located in mostly poor, African-American neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides. In many cases, developers that purchased a school are still lining up financing, so the buildings have seen little change.

We will continue to update this map as part of The Reporter’s ongoing series, “Empty schools, empty promises,” which explores the aftermath of the school closures. (Updated: Sept. 13, 2018) 

  • For sale
  • Sold
  • Repurposed

Sources and notes: Documents and pictures collected from Chicago Public Schools. The following 12 schools have reopened under their original names in other buildings: Burnham, Courtenay, Dett, Drake, Earle, Fiske, Leland, Mays, Melody, Pershing, Wadsworth, Laura S. Ward, Wentworth. School icon by David from the Noun Project

Kalyn is a reporter for The Chicago Reporter. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @kalynbelsha.

Matt is the data editor for The Chicago Reporter. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @matt_kiefer.

Join the Conversation


  1. This is fascinating! A buyer keeps popping up: Svigos Asset Management. Any idea how the sale prices were set/negotiated? Were the empty schools sought out by any particular buyers?

    1. Potential buyers have an idea of what the property is worth and they enter bids based on that (although it’s often below the appraised value for a number of reasons). You can see the appraised value and what the other potential buyers bid if you click the “status doc” for each of the schools that have sold for far. Per state and district policies, CPS can negotiate with the top two bidders; in some cases the district has gotten more money that way. The district is supposed to choose the highest “most responsible” bidder, so occasionally it will choose the second-highest bidder, but usually it’s the top.

    1. Yes, the closures resulted in many mergers; students from each closed school were assigned a “welcoming” school to attend. (Though in many cases, students chose to attend some other school). In some cases, you’ll see a building was closed but the school kept its name when it moved to another building. A list of those cases is under the map.

  2. Scanlon Elementary, on South Lafayette, was the only elementary school, in the 90’s, that had a swimming pool. I graduated in 1958.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.