Now that students and teachers have moved out of the building, officials are looking for a new use for the former Indian Creek Elementary School.
The ideas include moving the Trafalgar town hall into the former school, opening a senior center or community center, starting a Boys and Girls Club or offering office space in the building.
Now, the town is planning a study to see how the building could be used, and if the demand exists for it, and local officials are looking for input.
In a meeting this week, town council members discussed multiple ideas for how the building could be used, including a community center that would host festivals, bingo nights and fish fries, and relieving county jail overcrowding by housing inmates there.
But officials aren’t sure which of those plans are feasible and want to know how community members want to use the building. The town council unanimously approved having a consultant or engineer study the building, and give the town options on what could be done with the building and how much it could cost.
The elementary school closed in May, and students in kindergarten through second grade will move into a 50,000-square-foot wing attached to Indian Creek Intermediate School next school year.
Now, the building will be offered to Hensley Township Trustee Beth Baird, who will have to give the building to a government entity or nonprofit within 90 days, she said.
If the school district keeps the building, it would have to pay for upkeep, and the former elementary school would have to be on a list of available properties for charter schools for two years before the building could be sold, said Bill Barrett, town attorney.
Town officials have been discussing what should be done with the building for months. Town council members have toured the building and saw it was in generally good shape, but issues such as asbestos in at least one janitor’s closet could be costly to fix, town council member Jason Ramey said.
Town council member Betty Davis wants to find a way that the building could generate revenue to pay for its own upkeep, such as renting offices to small businesses. But town officials don’t know enough or have the time to study what would actually be feasible, which is why a consultant should be hired, she said.
“There are people in the business of developing these things,” Davis said.
But the town may spend thousands of dollars on the feasibility study and decide that the town can’t take the building, Ramey said.
Trafalgar is growing, with new businesses moving in, and the former elementary school could be used in a way to help attract people to visit and live in Trafalgar, such as by hosting community events, such as a fish fry or festival, said Jeff Eisenmenger, town council president.
“Every town around us has a festival. We do not,” he said.
Trafalgar and Hensley Township officials are looking at ideas of what could be done with the former Indian Creek Elementary School.
If you have an idea on what the building could be used for, e-mail Hensley Township Trustee Beth Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org