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Mauck Ele­mentary School at 113 E. Fayette Street was pur­chased by Hillsdale College this summer. Josephine von Dohlen| Col­legian

 

Joseph W. Mauck Ele­mentary School at 113 E. Fayette St. is just one of several vacant buildings in the City of Hillsdale that are being repur­posed and filled.

Hillsdale College bought Mauck Ele­mentary School for $390,000 on June 1, and the college plans to begin using the building for various pur­poses while it dis­cerns how to best use the space in the long term.

“We are looking at what we can do that is cost effective in the short term to utilize the building until long-term ren­o­va­tions can be made that will address the entire building’s defi­ciencies,” said Rich Péwé, chief admin­is­trative officer at the college.

Shawn Vondra, super­in­tendent of Hillsdale Com­munity Schools, said that every­thing regarding the sale went according to plan.

The sale was dis­cussed at meetings of the Hillsdale Com­munity Schools’ Board of Edu­cation earlier this spring, and the board’s members voted unan­i­mously to sell the vacant school to the college on March 19, as long as the trans­action was com­pleted.

Vondra said the building hadn’t been used since 2010.

Mauck Ele­mentary School was closed in 2010 after the close of the school year in efforts to save on costs because of declining enrollment, a pre­vious Col­legian article stated.

If the college had not pur­chased the building, Vondra said, the dis­trict would have con­tinued using the building for storage, but no other imme­diate plans were put in place.

Now that the college owns the building, it will con­tinue to inves­tigate the building’s present con­dition and make a plan to determine how space can best be used by the college, including the short term and the long term, Péwé said.

“The college def­i­nitely has staff space lim­i­ta­tions right now and specif­i­cally in the area of out­reach,” he said.

Having full access and more time in the building does give the college a better idea of how the space might be able to be used, according to Péwé.

He said the building has given the college several options, as it begins to con­sider moving into the space over time.

“It would be unlikely for just one department to occupy the whole building,” Péwé said.

In the imme­diate time frame, sports teams will begin prac­ticing in the former ele­mentary school’s gym and the parking lot will be used for the college’s func­tions, as it has in the past.

City Manager David Mackie said that from a city stand­point, he is excited to see Mauck Ele­mentary being repur­posed.

With the ele­mentary school’s prox­imity to the college, it seemed to be a great fit, he said.

“We want to see buildings filled,” Mackie said. “The longer a building sits vacant, the more dif­ficult and costly it becomes.”

Several vacant buildings are being repur­posed and filled throughout Hillsdale, Mackie said.

Just recently, the city announced that two his­toric buildings in Hillsdale’s downtown area, the Dawn Theater and the Keefer House, were pur­chased by Hillsdale’s Tax Increment Finance Authority and C.L. Real Estate and will be turned into a hotel in 2020.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    this is a good story of hillsdale working with the local munic­i­pality to mutual benefit. I am excited to see what they do with this. I have a few ideas I would like to submit.