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Facelift continues for Elizabeth schoolhouse

Built in 1938, the old Posey school in downtown Elizabeth served as an education center as well as a home to the Elizabeth Pirates until 1959.
A renovation took place in 1989, but it wasn’t until the last year that further upgrades had been done on the old brick building.
Thanks in large part to a sizable grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation, the property, owned by the South Harrison Community Development Corp., is in the middle of another facelift.
‘From a completion standpoint, we’re at about 50 percent. You can’t see a lot of it, but it’s there. We’ve got new electrical wiring in the building, the septic system’s been installed out past the parking lot, the multi-purpose room is completed, there are new rest rooms and we’ve got a new kitchen,’ said South Harrison Community Development Corp. president Steven Day, who heads an 11-member board.
All renovation work was paid for through an $800,000 grant from HCCF. An unforeseen expense came as a result of September’s windstorm, which damaged the roof of the building.
‘Our general contractor and architect both said the roof was not up to code and we would have to do something about it anyway. Really it came down to safety and we needed to address it,’ said Day, noting that a grant for repairs is pending. ‘The replacement of the roof was an unforeseen expense, but it’s going to have to be done and is the gateway for further renovation.’
On Oct. 3, 80 people were at the annual meeting of the SHCDC. Feedback from the attendees about the building were all positive, Day said.
‘They were really impressed with it,’ he said.
The south wing, which houses the kitchen and multi-purpose room, gives a preview of what the rest of the building will look like once it’s finished.
The windows were replaced and new flooring, ceiling fans and lighting were installed in the multi-purpose room, and 12 security cameras were installed inside and outside of the building. Chairs and tables in the room were sponsored by Posey Township Trustee Steve Smith.
Day said many of the renovated areas are available for rent: The kitchen can be rented for $15 an hour, the multi-purpose or gymnasium can be rented for $25 an hour, or all rooms can be rented for $50 an hour, with a cap of $400 for the day.
The Meals on Wheels program runs five days a week and currently serves 11 residents. After the first of the year, Day said he hopes to make the center a congregate site for the Meals on Wheels program. The South Harrison Community Center is also the site of a food pantry and will host a Christmas basket giveaway during the holiday season.
Keeping with the theme of food, plans are also in the works to serve meals for a nominal fee at the center each evening.
‘We want to utilize the facility and open it up for the community and give people another option besides driving to Corydon for a meal,’ Day said. ‘We’re not looking to make a huge profit; we’re just hoping to maybe cover the costs of insurance and maintenance.’
Long-range plans are still in the works for a possible satellite campus of the Harrison County Public Library as well as the YMCA of Harrison County.
‘We’ve formed a grant committee so we can seek options and get the funding to house a library,’ Day said. ‘We’re still interested in the library coming here, and I know the library is still interested in coming here. We just have to find a way to make it work.’
Day added that a needs assessment will likely be done before any YMCA programs are planned for the site.
Other possibilities include conducting health screenings, opening the gymnasium for walking and holding book fairs.
Two businesses ‘ a tanning salon and a hair stylist ‘ are housed in the Community Center, and once the renovation is complete there may be room for one additional business.
‘We hope to continue to provide the community with services and have people utilize the building because it will have far-reaching uses,’ Day said.