A multi-purpose building for municipal, community and business use is what local officials see as the future for the former Indian Creek Elementary School.

The Trafalgar town council met with architectural firms this week to get details about a feasibility study for the property, which the town is considering acquiring.

Options include a new city hall, community center, senior center, meeting place and rental spaces for small businesses. Local churches could be invited to serve meals out of the kitchen. It could also house the police and fire departments and other city offices.

The answer could also be all of the above, town council president Jeff Eisenmenger said.

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Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools moved its classes out of the building to a newly constructed 50,000-square-foot addition to Indian Creek Intermediate School this fall. The school district left an empty building behind, and the town is attempting to find a solution.

The town wants to be able to control the fate of the property so it doesn’t have a rundown building in the center of Trafalgar, town council member Jason Ramey said.

That is why the council met with two architectural firms: Lancer + Beebe and Arc Designs. Lancer + Beebe worked with the school district in preparing plans for the new elementary addition, and Arc Designs highlighted its past work on older, historic buildings. The town will receive proposals for a feasibility study from both firms in the coming weeks.

A feasibility study would include cost estimates, schedules and a rendering of what the project may look like, officials said.

The town is still considering how it would pay for any work needed to the former school building, if they decide to move forward with the project.

Grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and USDA Rural Development are some financing options available if the town decides to move forward with acquiring and redeveloping the school.

One revenue option for the property could be incubator spaces, or small offices that could be rented for several hundred dollars a month, said Terry Lancer, with Lancer and Beebe.

The facility will need to generate revenue in order to sustain itself, town council vice president Betty Davis said.

If the redevelopment is done in phases, work on parts of the building could be held off until tenants have signed leases, which would lower the initial cost of the project, Arc Design representative Andy Hine said.

The council could use money from tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts to pay for the feasibility study, Eisenmenger said.

At a glance

Here is a look at some of the options for the future of the former Indian Creek Elementary School:

  • Town hall
  • Police and fire departments
  • Community center
  • Senior center
  • Meeting place and rental spaces for small businesses
  • Local churches could serve meals out of the kitchen