Kendallville hopes to repurpose former East Noble Middle School building

The City of Kendallville is hoping to own the former East Noble Middle School building on Diamond Street. Wednesday night, the city offered to purchase the 100-year-old property.

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 11:28 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 11:44 PM

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (WFFT) - The City of Kendallville is hoping to own the former East Noble Middle School building on Diamond Street. Wednesday night, the city offered to purchase the 100-year-old property.

"This past Tuesday night, we passed a resolution that said we would be willing to take the school from the school corporation," said Kendallville Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe.

The city would like to see the building re-purposed into a community learning center.

"A lot of adult education, and we want the school to partner with us. We would have preschool, after school, partnering with the YMCA, the hospital, " said Handshoe.

The East Noble School Corp. is currently taking demolition bids from contractors. Right now, the plan is to tear the building down.

"We have a foundation that is willing to put a million dollars aside into a fund so that if programming didn't work out the way we didn't want it to in 20-30 years that there would be those funds set aside to demolish it," said Handshoe.

Rita Courtney lives right down the street from the empty school building and says she would love to see the building stick around.

"I think it should be re-purposed, I don't think it should be torn down. There's too much memory, too much history, too much good things going on there. "

She thinks the community learning center would help bring people closer together.

"We have a good council on aging center down the road a bit, we have the YMCA but not everyone can afford the YMCA. I can't.I would be willing to teach. Just something to help the community out, for the kids, just people," said Courtney.

Handshoe says if the school district accepts their offer, the city take over as soon as next year since the building is still in pretty good condition.

"We hope in 2019 we would start programming and then just move forward from there and taking a portion at a time of reconstructing."

But for now it's still a waiting game. Demolition bids are due January 3rd, and they're approving bids January 9th but Handshoe is still hopeful school board members will change it's minds.

"We don't know what the cost will be, but there seems to be enough partners in the community, and we hope that we can make it work," said Handshoe.

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