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LEOPOLD - Already a hub of community life for the expansive school district, Perry Central's campus might one day have a community center of its own housing an adult-education center, day care facility, business incubator, computer labs and even a small self-service laundry.
"It's an idea still in the exploration and planning stage, but it's time to share it with the community," Superintendent Mary Roberson said during Thursday's school board meeting. The proposed center hasn't been funded or approved by the board. However, the five-person group of trustees gave its permission for Roberson and others to continue with planning.
"Perry Central is already a true community center but this would allow us to offer more activities and serve unmet needs," she said.
The two-story building would be located south of the domed gymnasium on the southwest corner of the school campus. It would be connected to the school by walkways but would be free-standing. Preliminary plans call for two basketball courts, ringed by an elevated walkway, that would provide community athletic and recreational opportunities.
The building would also offer a computer lab and technology center, library, media center and rooms for adult education and day care. The center could also serve as a business incubator that would support entrepreneurship and stimulate the local economy.
The community center might even have a self-service laundry, providing a necessary service found nowhere else in the district. Many Perry Central families aren't served by public water lines and have difficulty washing clothing when private water supplies are lost.
Also, some families don't have washers and dryers and now have to travel to Tell City to do their laundry.
Other space in the building might be reserved for a community health office, meeting rooms and small conference center that would allow groups such as Scouts and a cattlemen's association, many of whom already meet in the main school building, a place to gather.
Search for Funding
The community center proposal has been shared with local legislators, Roberson said, in hopes that funding from the federal stimulus program might provide grants or no-interest loans.
The goal, she told the board, is to minimize any impact on local tax rates. There has been no cost to taxpayers so far, she said.
Roberson said a committee of community representatives will help guide planning for the project in coming weeks.