Renovations underway for abandoned school in Broome County

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BARKER (WBNG) — A nearly $20 million project is set to create a new makeover for the former Charlotte Kenyon Elementary School.

It’s located on Route 79 in Barker and was built in the late 1920s. The former school has been abandoned since the early 2000s.

“It’s been exciting,” said Opportunities for Broome and Chenango CEO Mark Silvanic. “I know it’s gotten a lot of people in the community excited.”

Opportunities for Broome based in Binghamton bought the property last year. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of people through self-reliance.

“I think taking a building like this that means so much to our community and doing something with it, I just think it’s the right thing to do,” said Silvanic.

The local agency has cleaned up and added new lights outside the building. Its goal is to turn the school into mix-used apartments.

“We’ll get low income seniors there,” explained Silvanic. “You could have individuals or families with documented disabilities, there will be a variety people who will be able to be housed there. We’re also looking at putting possibly a health clinic there. We’re interested in putting one of our head start centers there.”

Silvanic says the new project has the potential of bringing more jobs to the area.

“I imagine there will be a number of jobs,” he said. “It would obviously depend on whether we put a clinic there or head start there. There will definitely be a maintenance team there, some case managers there.”

Silvanic is hoping to break ground by next year.

“We’re looking at possibly this spring running some groups through the building before we actually begin the construction so they can kind of see the before and after,” added Silvanic.

His goal is to have the new space up and running in the next two years.

Opportunities for Broome and Opportunities for Chenango are working together to complete the project.

Esperanza Gutierrez

Esperanza Gutierrez

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