Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State College wants to look into options and costs for renovating historic Fairmount Building

View of Fairmount Building
Google Maps
This Google Maps screenshot shows one of the entrances to the State College Area School District's Fairmount Building.

The State College Redevelopment Authority has applied for state grants to help pay for both a study of the Fairmount Building, 411 S. Fraser St., and funding that would go to buying it, if the borough decides to pursue that.

The State College Area School District owns the historic and sprawling building, located near downtown State College. It currently houses several offices and programs, but those are slated to move out next year.

Ed LeClear, director of State College Planning and Community Development, said the borough’s Redevelopment Authority applied for two Keystone Communities Program grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development: One grant for $25,000 would help pay for a study to look at options and costs for rehabbing the building.

A second grant for $500,000 would provide matching funding to buy the building — if the school district decides to sell it and the borough decides to buy it. The school district is in the process of studying its building capacities and predicted enrollments. If the school district decides to sell the building, the borough has the right of first refusal.

“It is our community's historic high school," Le Clear said. "And, you know, a lot of community members went to school there, either when it was a high school or when it became Fairmont Elementary School. It has, I think, a lot of emotional attachment in our community.”

A wooden bookshelf with glass is built into the wall of the Fairmount Building.
Anne Danahy
The historic Fairmount Building in State College has unusual features, such as these wood and glass classroom shelves.

The original section of the school was built in 1914. Three additions were made after that. Challenges with the aging school include accessibility, asbestos and lack of parking.

“It's a community asset, but is it something that we want to put a lot of funds into to keep it going? And I think that's a decision that council, obviously, will have to make," LeClear said. "Our effort is to try to get them as much information as we can.”

LeClear said when assessing the building, they’ll look at options for keeping parts of it, but demolishing others. And the process will include getting public input.

LeClear said he hopes to hear whether they’re getting the state grants in the first quarter of 2023.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
Related Content