The Hoosierist: Why Aren’t There More CFI Schools?

The Center for Inquiry, open-air conventions, and Holliday Park ruins. Ask the Hoosierist.

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Q: Since admission to the Center for Inquiry schools has become so competitive, why don’t they open a few more of them?
A: According to Indianapolis Public Schools, it’s for roughly the same reason trendy, four-star restaurants usually don’t open a bunch of new locations. The special programs at CFI require teachers with special training, and if you dilute their numbers by starting new schools, you risk diluting the product. The program serves about 1,600 students, but IPS has no immediate plans to expand it. “Growing too fast could weaken the very elements of our schools that make them attractive to families,” a spokesperson for IPS offered in a statement. Of course, in a world that had its priorities straight, all schools would be filled with top-notch programs, so students wouldn’t have to besiege the handful of places that do. But The Hoosierist chooses not to dwell on that. It’s too depressing.

Q: The Holliday Park ruins, which got a makeover last year, don’t seem as big as they used to be. How much got carted away?
A: Actually, the amalgamation of broken buildings probably sports a little more rubble than before. According to the folks at Friends of Holliday Park, the $2.3 million renovation uncovered substantial chunks of stone that the earth had swallowed over the decades. These were brushed off and put back on display. “We didn’t really have to haul anything away,” says FHP executive director Adam Barnes. Though it’s pretty much the same pile of broken stuff as before, it might look a bit smaller because some of it was rearranged, and a large reflecting pool—which had devolved into a giant mosquito-breeding facility—was removed and replaced by a smaller fountain. It’s the same thing that happened when your mom cleaned your room: When everything’s put away, it feels like there’s more space.

Q: Would Lucas Oil Stadium ever open its roof for a convention?
A: It could be done, but so far, no one has asked. While open-air sporting events can be fun, inviting Mother Nature to your trade show is a bad idea. Consider what happens when you open your home’s windows on a blustery day. The curtains flap, and anything light gets blown around. Now imagine that problem scaled up by a zillion, and you get why conventions keep the roof closed. When you’re hosting vendors with piles of paper handouts, introducing a stiff breeze is the equivalent of rolling a tray of cream pies into a Three Stooges movie. Also, the structure is often subdivided using curtains bigger than Spanish galleon sails. “You don’t want the wind catching those,” says one stadium staffer. “You really don’t.”

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