4. Ortega Elementary School 4010 Baltic Street Demolition Estimate: $339,680

In 1909, the Ortega Company, founded by John N. C. Stockton and Charles C. Bettes, began development of the Ortega subdivision, a streetcar suburb designed by the prominent architect Henry J. Klutho. Klutho designed the community to include four circular parks named after New World explorers. In 1923, Ortega Elementary School opened adjacent to Desoto Park and for many years, the park served as the school’s playground. In 1950 the Ortega Company donated the western portion of the park to the School Board for use by the school. In 2004, Old Ortega was designated as a Historic District and added to the National Register of Historic Places. DCPS plans to close Ortega Elementary, and despite the area’s history and ties to a prominent architect, the remains on the DCPS list for demolition at an estimated cost of $339,680.

5. Venetia Elementary School 4300 Timuquana Road Replacement Estimate: $23,022,740

Venetia Elementary School opened in 1942 as Public School 68 to serve the neighborhood of Venetia. Named for the Venetia region in northeast Italy, this Westside neighborhood’s development began in 1925 by a company headed by Dr. Raymond Turck, who was chief surgeon at St. Luke’s Hospital from 1910 to 1916. Most of the neighborhood streets have Italian names, such as Garibaldi Avenue, after the Italian nationalist. Venetia Elementary School is the only one on this list that is 75 years or older that DCPS intends to keep operating as a public school. However, as of now, it’s historical architectural value appears to mean very little as plans call for demolition and replacement with a new facility at the estimated cost of $23 million.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com