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Elementary Schools in Lehighton Area Sold

LEHIGHTON -- Inside the Lehighton Area School District administration building, two of the district's elementary schools were sold Wednesday during a public auction.

East Penn Elementary was the first to be sold. It was bought by Duane Schlicher from East Penn Township for $350,000.

"We want to make it into an adult living center or personal care," Schlicher said. "I think there is a need for it. The baby boomers, we have more and more retiring and affordability for the senior citizens."

Behavioral Health Associates bought the second school on the auction block, Mahoning Elementary, for the same price.

The plan is to turn it into an alternative school for children from both Carbon County and the Lehigh Valley.

"We have been slowly increasing our services to the school districts in the area and we are currently out of room. We were looking for other property and this happened to become available. It's a school already and it's just amazing how well it will fit into our structure," said Richard Kaffrey, Behavioral Health Associates.

The district is closing its four existing elementary schools and opening a brand new $34 million elementary center next year.

The new elementary school is expected to be finished by the start of the next school year. District officials are happy they were able to get two of the elementary centers sold and that money that will help pay for this construction.

School board president Gloria Bowman says the remaining two elementary schools will also go up for lease or sale.

"One of the interests is the IU, president of the IU, we have also been in touch with some colleges but those two are still up for discussion," Bowman said.

The new owners of the schools will officially take over the buildings next summer.