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East Noble to transfer former middle school to Kendallville for community learning center

In September, the school board voted to demolish the building when a proposal for the building to be converted into apartments and a community center wasn't fully developed on time.

Posted: Feb 6, 2019 9:09 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 6:34 AM

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (WFFT) - The former East Noble Middle School was spared the wrecking ball for now.

Wednesday night, the East Noble School Board unanimously approved transferring the empty building to the city of Kendallville.

The city will hang onto the building until a non-profit is formed to convert the building to a community learning center.

In September, the school board voted to demolish the building when a proposal for the building to be converted into apartments and a community center wasn't fully developed on time.

Many people in the community were upset, including Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe.

"I just can't imagine anything else being there," she said.

Handshoe added the city would be looking for a spot to put a community learning center regardless what the East Noble School Board decided.

"We have agencies that are overflowing and could use the space," Handshoe said.

The Apple Tree Center just a couple blocks north of the school is one of them.

"We've been open for three years and we've quadrupled the number of kids in our building so we are running out of space," said The Apple Tree Center program director, Debbie Norris.

The Apple Tree Center has pre-school and after school programs.

Norris said having access to the building once known as Kendallville High School will make a difference in the community.

"We came to Kendallville, we came to bring hope to our neighborhood. This gives us another way to elevate that. This is so fantastic," she said.

East Noble superintendent Ann Linson said it is exciting to see what's next for the building that was built in 1915.

"It is great to have it used in the community, to have it serve the youth and the adults," Anne Linson said.

"When I say it changes everything, it changes everything. It's going to give a place for people to be," said Norris.

The Kendallville City Council will also have to approve accepting responsibility for the school building, everything is expected to be transferred within the month.

A million dollar endowment will also be set up to pay for demolition if the community learning center doesn't materialize.

This fulfills the school district's promise of not leaving an eyesore in the neighborhood.

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