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EC schools sell building to city

Updated: January 10, 2013 6:22AM



The School City of East Chicago Board of Trustees approved the sale of Eugene Field Elementary School to the city, which intends to repurpose the building into a center for college classes.

Mayor Anthony Copeland said the city paid $1 for the building, which he envisions as an anchor in a planned redevelopment in the North Harbor area.

At the Wednesday meeting, the board also transferred three community centers — Roxana, Marktown and Martin Luther King Jr. — to the city, which already was paying for utilities and maintenance.

Superintendent Michael Harding did not return messages left for comment.

Field School currently serves 80 students in an alternative setting, but Copeland said it has capacity to serve up to 700 students. He said students don’t have to leave immediately and he is “looking at the smoothest transition for the students.”

He insisted the building will never be used as a charter school.

Copeland said three universities have submitted proposals for the building and property, and he plans to announce the city’s pick in the next few weeks.

“A city university campus in that area, I pitched the idea to them and it’s something that I’ve been in pursuit of for a year and a half,” Copeland said. “I’m humbled by the decision to transfer the property. The history of East Chicago is that we were a college town; Calumet College originated in East Chicago, but they lacked the ability to expand their footprint.”

Copeland said the city is looking for a minimum investment of $50 million in the project and leveraging that investment to around $300 million.

Copeland said the North Harbor area has been eyed as the ideal area to “resurrect the city” by the past few mayors.

“This project will not only assist in the quality of life in the city, but it will also aid in economic development,” he said.



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