Meadville Tribune

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June 12, 2013

READ program to set up shop at old East End school

MEADVILLE — Crawford Central School Board has approved a year-long lease agreement that will enable the Crawford County Literacy Council’s Crawford County READ program to shift the base of its Meadville operations to the former East End Elementary School on Walnut Street in Meadville. The board’s vote was taken during its recent monthly meeting.

Specifically, the organization will occupy space on the building’s first floor on the west, or Lafayette Street, side.

“It’s going to be an ideal place for the READ program,” READ Executive Director Armendia Dixon said Tuesday. “What better place than a beautiful, attractive school?”

Dixon expects to be in the building by the first week in July, a move that will centralize the organization’s READ, GED, pre-GED and family literacy programs as well as its administrative offices in one location.

“We’re so grateful that Stone (United Methodist) Church allowed us to stay here and use their space for almost a year,” Dixon said, noting that the new location will allow for future program expansion.

A lease agreement is already in place between the district and the Creating Landscapes Learning Center for classroom space on the building’s second floor.

While the school board awaits the results of a feasibility study exploring the possibility of moving the district’s administrative offices from their current location in Vernon Township to East End, “We’re leasing space that we wouldn’t be using,” Superintendent Charlie Heller said Tuesday.

“If it seems to be the best decision to relocate the administration building, East End would be made of administration, READ, Creating Landscapes and another tenant agency,” Heller said, noting that talks with the unnamed agency are under way. “The building would be completely full.”

Heller stressed that the district is making every effort find ways to utilize the building that will allow Pennsylvania Department of Education to continue to reimburse the district for additions and renovations done while the building still served as an elementary school.

“It’s well worth the investment to complete the study,” Heller said. “It will help us to make a decision in the best interest of the district, because based on the study, we will know about the reimbursement. The district is spending $8,000 on a study attempting to recoup $2.5 million.”

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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