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Seminary buys former Scotland School for Veterans Children

January 26, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Scotland School for Veterans Children press conference attendees look over the campus Friday morning.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SCOTLAND, Pa. — Winebrenner Theological Seminary announced the finalization of a $1.8 million deal to purchase the former Scotland School for Veterans Children on Friday.

Settlement of the property between Winebrenner, of Findlay, Ohio, and the state of Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services, which manages the property, will take place in late May or early June.

Winebrenner Vice President and Director of the Pennsylvania Campus David Newell said not only will the Ohio seminary be opening a satellite campus in Scotland, Pa., but also the school will partner with other groups to utilize the 185-acre campus.

“With the opportunities that we believe will manifest here, we believe there will be significant jobs,” Newell said during a news conference on Friday at the chapel at SSVC.

With 70 buildings on campus, Michael Walker, chairman of Winebrenner’s board of trustees, said the redevelopment of the property will be multi-faceted.

“We’d like the seminary to be here and offering classes. But, we’re also looking at partnering with other schools, agencies and enterprises to have a presence here on campus as well,” Walker said.

Walker said the seminary is looking at the possibility of adding a senior living facility to the campus as well as other schools.

State Sen. Rich Alloway II, R-Franklin/Adams/York, and Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland, were among those who spearheaded efforts to find a buyer for the former veterans school, which closed in 2009.

It was a long process. So many people came and looked at the property, Kauffman said.

“The folks at Winebrenner want this facility to be part of our greater community. They want people to be here. I can’t think of a better fit for this community than Winebrenner,” Kauffman said.

John Boozer, board member, Scotland School for Veterans Children, said seeing the school close was incredibly difficult.

“The concern was it (SSVC) would be sitting here dormant for a long time and decay to a point where it wouldn’t be able to be reused,” Boozer said. “Winebrenner has a vision for this — has a redevelopment for it. The good news is that this property won’t be decaying and it won’t be dormant. Winebrenner is the absolute best solution for this school and this property to carry it well into the future.”

Operationally, Newell said the seminary can’t offer credit courses until receiving state approval.

A realistic target date is January 2014, he said.

The seminary, affiliated with the Church of God, hopes to have 500 students on campus within five years.

The school does have authorization to offer pastoral courses in the state, and plans to offer those immediately.

Newell said SSVC’s chapel will house seminary offices and some classrooms.

The Scotland campus education and conference center will be located in the education building complex, he said.

“It will house a consortium of schools and colleges and host conferences and events related to education,” Newell said. “We have already begun to book space and will make good use of the 30 leasable classrooms and the 650-seat auditorium that will serve as an opportunity for the educational community and organizations looking for space to train their employees.”

The seminary has formed an exploratory advisory group to expand educational opportunities to the public as well as foster opportunities to area businesses to develop training on the campus, Newell said.

“Other plans for this campus are still under development, “Newell said. “Franklin County is a phenomenal place to be. The people we have had the opportunity to work with are top notch.”

Despite the redevelopment of the property, Newell said the seminary is sensitive to the campus’ history.

“We have a building reserved for the alumni group, and they will house a lot of artifacts as a museum that will be open to the public,” he said.

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