ERIC Number: ED440813
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Conversion of School Buildings in Rural Illinois Communities.
Liebenstein, Ann M.
Rural Research Report, v10 n2 Fall 1998
The possibility of converting a vacated school building into a useful resource presents a community with an interesting situation. During a 5-year period ending in 1997, over 100 rural Illinois communities encountered this situation. This report explores what happens to vacant school buildings and offers case studies of various re-uses, new ownership, and funding mechanisms. Basic concerns and challenges of the conversion process are whether the school building has value, what type of use is most appropriate, who the developers are, and how the conversion process works. Survey responses from 22 regional offices of education in nonmetropolitan Illinois counties reported 25 closed buildings with 19 converted to other uses. Case studies were developed on the conversion projects identified. School buildings have been converted to housing, commercial purposes, and community centers. Not one of the conversions was reported as a failure. Respondents most frequently defined a successful conversion as filling a need within the community or increasing the local tax base. A comparison to conversions in earlier decades shows that as vacated school buildings are larger now, a more sophisticated conversion process and greater expertise are needed. This increased complexity also requires a public commitment to enabling and supporting conversions until they can become financially self-sufficient. (SV)
Descriptors: Building Conversion, Case Studies, Community Development, Community Involvement, Community Services, Elementary Secondary Education, Rural Areas, Rural Schools, School Buildings, School Closing, School Community Relationship
For full text: http://www.iira.org/pubs/#RurRsrch.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Western Illinois Univ., Macomb. Illinois Inst. for Rural Affairs.
Identifiers - Location: Illinois