July 26, 2017 Edition

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Lawrence County Cooperative School Director Lisa Williams (right) discusses the potential for expansion for the school with Board President Alex Latham. LCCS recently purchased a section of the old Black Rock School campus, including the multi-purpose building.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

LCCS purchases buildings on
former BR School campus

Gretchen Hunt

The Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia has expanded its holdings to include a portion of the former Black Rock School campus.

Director Lisa Williams said the LCCS board had been looking at building a new multi-purpose building.

"They had been getting estimates," Williams said. "Then a board member came up with the idea to check on Black Rock."

The school submitted a $100,000 offer to the Lawrence County School District for the section of the campus that falls to the east of North St. Joseph Street, including the multi-purpose building, former Black Rock Elementary School and three rock buildings. That offer was accepted.

At this time, the only plans in place are to utilize the gym in the multi-purpose building. The school will remain in Portia, but the gym will provide a location for activities and special events.

In the past they have had to rent locations for events, such as the annual prom. Now they will be able to host those in the multi-purpose building at Black Rock. In addition, the building will provide potential opportunities to host larger events, such as Special Olympics.

Williams said there is also potential for some of the LCCS clients to be able to help maintain the gym while learning job skills.

At this time, it is uncertain how the other buildings and property purchased will be used, but it provides much-needed space and the board will now work to determine how it can best be used.

"It will definitely open up opportunities for expansion," Board President Alex Latham said.

There is maintenance work to be done, as well as some updates that will have to be completed, but Latham said the school was able to get the property for pennies on the dollar compared with the cost of new construction.

"We were set up to build a multi-purpose building, but then we thought about this and it was such a cost savings," he said.

Williams said the school's staff and board will use the new facilities to the best of their abilities to meet the needs of the LCCS clients.

Latham agreed, saying, "The bottom line is to make their lives as happy and self-sufficient as possible."

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