ENGLISH, Ind. (WDRB) -- Some southern Indiana veterans’ advocates want to turn Crawford County’s former English Elementary School into a shelter for homeless veterans.
The former English Elementary School has been vacant for more than two years but was recently renovated before it closed its doors.
"It's clean," said Navy Veteran Desley Snyder with the Indiana Department of Veteran's Affairs. "It has a wonderful gym. The gym is outstanding."
There's nothing wrong with the building, Snyder said.
"You walk in, and you would never know that school isn’t going on here,” she said. “It's actually in very good shape. The enrollment was down at the school, and they decided to combine schools in Crawford County, which left this school empty.”
Snyder, along with Marine Corps veteran and Crawford County Veterans Service Officer Jim Fraze, said the transaction would also be a win for the school district if it gifted the building to local veterans for a new shelter.
"We've got a facility sitting here empty, nobody is using it, and we have people sleeping on the streets," Fraze said. “I just can't imagine. It doesn't make sense.”
Crawford County Community Schools Superintendent Michael Key said the district pays more than $50,000 a year for utilities, to mow the grass and for insurance, but Key said it's not easy to just give away a building.
The district still owes debt on the building, and the seven-member school board would have to hold a vote.
Fraze said he wants to use the building for veterans and their families who are down on their luck. He wants to use part of the land around the school for a veteran’s cemetery and part of it for a garden for the veterans who live at the shelter. The shelter would take a "holistic" approach to treatment for the veterans who need it.
“Every veteran we bring in will be vetted,” Fraze said. “We don’t want to bring in anyone who will bring the county down. We want to lift the county up.”
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