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Denver’s Rosedale school has sat vacant for 15 years. Now the Catholic Archdiocese wants to buy it.

Denver's Rosedale Elementary, located at 2330 South Sherman Street.
Denver's Rosedale Elementary, located at 2330 South Sherman Street.
Melanie Asmar/Chalkbeat

Update, Jan. 15: This story has been updated with the name of the organization interested in buying Rosedale.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Denver has expressed interest in buying the Denver public school district’s sole remaining shuttered elementary school, Rosedale, and turning it into a private high school, district officials said.

Denver Public Schools has not revealed other details of the offer. But Deputy Superintendent of Operations Mark Ferrandino said the offer has set in motion a public conversation about what to do with the southeast Denver elementary school, which was closed in 2005 to save money.

“The offer is what triggered it but that doesn’t mean yes, we’re going to go sell,” Ferrandino said. “It means let’s talk to the community. All the options are on the table.”

The Catholic Archdiocese already has one high school in Denver, Bishop Machebeuf High School, located in the eastern part of the city.

The options before Denver Public Schools include selling Rosedale to the Catholic Archdiocese, seeking out other bids, leasing the building, reopening it for use by the district as a school or something else, or leaving it mothballed.

An idea to turn Rosedale into affordable housing for Denver teachers was scrapped two years ago after pushback from the neighborhood.

At the time, several neighbors said they wanted the district to reopen Rosedale as a public school. With just 12 classrooms, it would be among the district’s smallest.

But district officials said there were already enough schools serving the neighborhood. A new enrollment analysis released last month predicts flat to declining enrollment in that part of southeast Denver over the next five years, a trend seen districtwide.

Ferrandino said it would cost between $12 and $15 million to renovate Rosedale so it could be reopened — an estimate considerably higher than the $8 million figure cited two years ago. The increase is due to inflation and the rising cost of construction, he said.

It will be up to the Denver school board to decide the building’s fate. But Ferrandino said if the district decides to sell, it would put out a request-for-proposals before choosing a buyer.

Though the offer from the Catholic Archdiocese came in last spring, Ferrandino said the district waited to discuss it publicly until new school board members were elected in November. Now that the new board is seated, the first public meetings will happen in February. The district has not yet released the dates, times, or locations of the meetings.

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