School soon to be empty

A community or senior citizens activities center, town hall office space or recreation area are all possibilities for Indian Creek Elementary School once students move out.

In less than three months, the school on Pearl Street will be emptied of the desks, chairs and students that currently fill its rooms. Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson is in the final stages of a $10 million, 53,000-square-foot addition that connects to the intermediate school for students in kindergarten through grade two.

Trafalgar Town Council members have started talking about potential uses for the empty building with a few school board members, town council member David Moore said. The town council has not conducted a meeting with a proposal for the entire school board yet, Moore said.

Indian Creek superintendent Tim Edsell has said the school district did not have any use for the elementary building once it closes this summer. If the school board wants to get rid of the property, the building first has to be offered to charter schools and the Hensley Township trustee. If neither wants to use the property, the building would have a two-year waiting period before another organization can move in, according to the state law.

If no one wants to use the property, town council members are considering an idea to turn the school building into a senior citizens center with events, such as bingo nights or quilting bees, or a community center with basketball leagues or space for events, Moore said.

“It would be something to totally benefit the community because there’s nothing around here like that,” Moore said. “It would just be another plus for the community to attract people to live here.”

So far, no costs have been discussed for renovations, purchasing the building or selling the current town hall, he said. The town could decide to bring in another organization to run the community or senior citizens center, Moore said.

Town council member Betty Davis wants to talk to residents to see what the area is lacking, she said. For example, Trafalgar is already home to a newer library, so that need has been met, but she wants to talk to residents about what else needs to be brought to the town, Davis said.

“It’ll be a while until we see who the building could serve,” Davis said.

The town council is also considering turning the school building into the town hall or office space for town utility employees and the Trafalgar Police Department and relocating from the current town hall on State Road 252. The town employees’ office space could take up part of the building while the rest of the structure could still be used as a community or senior citizens center, Moore said.

Town council members want to tour the building with the school’s maintenance crew to look at possible renovation needs and estimate utility costs, Moore said. In addition, the town council members want to look into possible insurance costs for the building because it is larger than their current town hall, Moore said.

The town hall has been located on State Road 252 since 2010, when about $550,000 was spent to buy and renovate the building, which was a former masonic lodge.

Davis has seen more residents using the town hall in recent years, from creating additional committees and having volunteers stop by for various town projects, she said.

“In the four years I’ve been on the council, the needs seem to be increasing (at town hall),” Davis said.

Hensley Township Trustee Beth Baird said it is too early to determine if she would want the school building for township use. But if the Trafalgar town council gave her a proposal for what they would do with the building, she would consider accepting the building in order to give it to the town, Baird said.

But the school building should be repurposed in a way to benefit all of Hensley Township, not just Trafalgar residents, she said.