The city of Portage is looking at ways to repurpose the old Garyton School instead of knocking down the 100-year-old structure.
Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the city’s redevelopment commission last week heard from a team of consultants on how the building could be used, including a community center.
The school building, which dates to 1921, is believed to be one of the oldest commercial buildings in the city.
Consultants from Valparaiso-based Karnerblue Era LLC are proposing a community center that could include a coffee shop, community meeting rooms and a fine arts studio.
“Early on we determined this building was not suitable for market-rate or even subsidized housing,” said Tina Rongers, founder and chief executive officer of Karnerblue.
Rongers told the RDC that arts and education emerged as a focus for the building in a series of community conversations.
The publication says the previous city administration felt the cost of demolition was too high.
The paper reports total construction costs for the entire project, not including things like fees, furnishings and surprises, would be about $3.2 million.
The RDC’s role would be to stabilize the building and get it ready to hand off to a nonprofit to manage.