Bok School project receives grant to remake grounds as ‘South Philly Stoop’

In November, preliminary plans were presented for the redevelopment planned for the Bok School at 1901 S. 9th St. Now thanks to a large grant being awarded to the project’s developer, Lindsey Scannapieco, by the Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge, you can also expect to see improvements in the area surrounding this 340,000 sq. ft. school.

Edward Bok Technical High School, via Wikipedia
Edward Bok Technical High School, via Wikipedia

With the receipt of this $146,960 grant, the area surrounding the school will be seeing improvements including a new bus shelter, a dog park, a bike repair station and more that is intended to transform the grounds into the “South Philly Stoop.”

When presenting the initial plans for this project, one of the major concepts emphasized by Scannapieco was that of “public living rooms.” These living rooms are spaces that are for bringing together and improving the community surrounding this school. The money received from this Knight Cities Challenge grant will go towards doing just that.

To connect with the community, there will be a series of engagement sessions, to be held in June, where the team developing the Bok School will work with students of Southwark Elementary to determine what the term “living room” means to them and their daily lives.

Another way of interacting with the community with this project is the plan to have StoryCorps come to South Philly to record the stories of those in the surrounding community.

The grant money would fund several improvements, including extending the gym floor from inside the building to the outside to create an outdoor, stoop-like space for neighbors to hang out and interact. We’re not yet clear exactly how that will be completed, but it’s being proposed for the Mifflin Street side facing Southwark Elementary across the street.

There will also be a new bus shelter for the 47 bus route at the corner of 9th and Mifflin, a bike repair station for simple repairs and pumping up tires, and even a dog park.

An upcoming public meeting will discuss remapping plans for the Bok Technical School site in accordance with suggestions being made from the South District Plan. The suggestion from the South District Plan was to remap the location to be IRMX, which is a new zoning district that would allow for a mix of residential, commercial and artisan industrial usage.

Scannapieco will be at the meeting to present her plans for the development of Bok in accordance with the proposed remapping. The meeting is being held on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Neumann-Goretti Auditorium.

What do you think of the plans for the use of this grant money to create community “living rooms” surrounding the Bok School?

29 thoughts on “Bok School project receives grant to remake grounds as ‘South Philly Stoop’

  • April 1, 2015 at 9:26 am

    This is great news. Can’t wait to see this project get started.

  • April 1, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Lindsey – Instead of StoryCorps, why not use a Philadelphia storytelling organization like Tell Me A Story or Philly’s own History Truck!

    • April 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Good idea! Use Philly talent and producers, please!

  • April 1, 2015 at 11:50 am

    More power to her. But its sort of weird they gave so much money to a developer who is trying to make money off of a property. But I’m all for the idea working so….whatever…not like it was tax dollars.

  • April 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Absolutely this person isn’t from philly Bc we don’t call it a stoop we call it STEP so do t come here and try and change shit you don’t No about!!!!

    • April 2, 2015 at 9:24 am


      Are you actually serious?

    • April 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      John my good man, let’s not lose the forest for the trees!

    • April 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm


      John’s clearly has some issues.

  • April 2, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I love how people are commenting that “stoop” isn’t Philly or there isn’t enough parking…..really focusing on the big picture here guys! It’d be much better as an abandoned building /sarc

    • April 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

      This project CANNOT add 1 additional car to the neighborhood!! There are not enough legal parking spaces to park all the legal cars – that’s why we ( South Philly) park in the middle of Broad St. Anyone trying to park after 8 pm in the BOK area knows its a 20 to 30 minutes searching process. 20 years ago, it was not like that — but now it is reality. Truly, I do not care the building is developed ( short of destroying its facade) but it must be parking neutral to the neighborhood! Small hoagie stores create a lot of traffic( look at 11th & Annin St) – can you imagine numerous stores in BOK? The BOK project should/must have its own parking (2) structures constructed in rear on Hoffman St. The building is shaped like an “E” and can utilize those 2 huge spaces between the main building for parking garages (use technology – The Loft Parking facility in center city – un-manned and secure).

      All the pie-in -the sky, flowers,roses, sunshine, fluffy stuff in the world won’t make this PARKING issue disappear!!

      • April 6, 2015 at 8:53 am

        @Paul. Sorry dude, you’re wrong. After 8pm, i always find parking near my house (8th and Moore), just have to walk 2-3 blocks (the horror! the horror!). You people that are OBSESSED with parking spots need to get a driveway in the ‘burbs.

        • April 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

          @False. Sorry “DUDE” — but parking IS at a huge premium. You can’t be from the neighborhood! (“you people?” — and who are you? Another “people”?). And if you are from the neighborhood, you shouldn’t want parking pressures. Plus I’m not moving to the burbs, dude! I’m here to stay. That means a 340,000 foot building purchased for $6.00 a foot at a closed government “give away picnic”, needs and can afford to build plenty of garage space. Figure out what you paid for your house per square foot ($100 -$350). That means that building should have sold for at least $34,000,000. Even at a fire sale $17,000,000 would be a GREAT deal. It was initially valued at $55,000,000. The developer can afford to play & carry this property for years. Again, I don’t care what is done ( I’m sure that the developer has excellent taste ) as long as as we have an abundance of parking that carries that building for years.

          You must work or are paid by someone who is either in the construction unions, the developer, a politician, or someone who benefits by your flip comments.

          Impossible –You can’t be from the neighborhood, DUDE!

          • April 7, 2015 at 8:17 am

            @Paul. Except my house didn’t need asbestos abatement or require extensive renovation (leaking roof, etc). Also the city needed to cure debt that was outstanding on the property. The whole point of the low sale price was to facilitate a development that didn’t require a high return (ex: luxury condos). “Impossible –You can’t be from the neighborhood”…lol, ok dude.

          • April 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

            Paul, I bet you could walk a few blocks and the world wouldn’t end. When I hear people say things like “This project cannot take ONE PARKING SPOT” it drives me absolutely nuts. You live in a city. You are lazy. Park a few blocks away like a sane human being. You don’t have a constitutional right to park in front of your house.

            • April 7, 2015 at 6:39 pm

              @Derek, Your right. I don’t have a right to park in front of my house and I have walked blocks after parking. But if that is the case now, think of a 100-300 extra cars in the area. The idea is larger than my block. Parking a few blocks away only means your pushing people in that neighborhood further away and they have to move further out. When does that slippery slope end? There are not enough legal street parking spots in all of South Philly for all the legal cars. So why add to the congestion now? Now is the time to put up a fight for off-street parking . Not after its approved and built. That’s not how the development game is played

              I am not one to discuss business nor to brag or boast – what I haven’t said before and will state now is that I have worked in real estate property management and land development for the last 33 years+ — and not at a low level. We just built several large structures and have several more in the pipeline. It is a cake walk when there is no community demands. I know how the game is played.

              Finally, I don’t know why you guys take to calling names –“nuts” and “lazy” — Its really not right and I don’t get it (I apologize for the previous “DUDE” remarks to @False). I’m on your side of this table! Everyone should want to explore all these aspects of the development. This is not a personal battle. This is for all of us. I want a nice centerpiece that I don’t resent. I’m sure Scout-LTD does too.

              Parking is a piece of the puzzle that can’t be overlooked and is not a deal breaker for this project.

              • April 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

                @Paul. No worries. Your heart is in the right place. I could’ve phrased my comment more delicately. I assumed your initial comment was in the same spirit as John’s, and i was mistaken.

              • April 8, 2015 at 1:14 pm

                Well said Paul. I’d like to apply your exact same argument to the development at the Brush Factory site at between 12 and Iseminger on McKean Street. Very well said. I hope you don’t get shouted down.

                • April 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm

                  12th & Jackson*! Damn! LoL… I must have McKean St. on the brain today for some reason…

    • April 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Its a small insignificant detail… But we never ever called it a stoop. It is NOT a deal breaker. It does NOT disqualify whoever is developing the place… But ya know… This ain’t NY…

    • April 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I agree Lol.

  • April 2, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Beat it hipsters go back where you came from ! You people know nothing about south philly

    • April 2, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Great attitude, scumbag.

    • April 3, 2015 at 9:50 am

      John, I get the reaction to outsiders moving in acting like its “their” neighborhood and all that, but what is your proposal regarding what to do with this humongous vacant school building? Waiting for your idea.

    • April 3, 2015 at 9:55 am

      @John. I’m a homeowner at 8th and Moore. I’d much rather the “hipsters” in my neighborhood, than someone with your attitude. Get lost.

  • April 4, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Rent an off street space, as you are trying to force others to do. Your problem will be solved.

  • April 6, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I have a house at 10th & Mifflin and only find it difficult to park on restaurant heavy evenings (Thurs, Fri. Sat.). The rest of the time parking is just fine.

    Looking forward to this project and all the improvements and opportunities it will bring.

  • April 6, 2015 at 9:33 am

    There’s always parking in South philly, and if you’ve lived here a long time you know where to find it. It might not be in front of your house. That’s the price you pay for city living, or alternatively you could rent a space somewhere and pay that price

  • April 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Yeah but there is no reason you can’t build in enough self contained parking… It is inconsiderate to develop huge places without considering parking. The same insensitive and inconsiderate thinking is going into the proposed plans for the old brush factory on 12th & McKean which takes up a huge chunk of the block straight through to Iseminger Street. Why are people so enthusiastic about shouting at people who want to park within 3 blocks of their house? People need to try putting themselves in other residents shoes. Or we need to stop calling ourselves South Philly and just accept the fact that Center City has expanded and we are becoming part of Center City. In Center City you should expect to park 3 blocks away or pay for garage parking or something like that. In parts of South Philly, it is getting to be like this. So we should start calling everything north of McKean Street “Center City”… LoL

    • April 8, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      12th & Jackson… LoL

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