New Life for Former School in the Poconos

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COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP -- A former school in the Poconos is getting a new lease on life. The Mountain Community and Educational Center is ready to take over.

Officials with the center just got the keys to begin the renovations. But all the hard work is a welcome task since the former Coolbaugh Elementary Center has been empty since 2012.

Right now, the hallways of the former Coolbaugh Elementary Center in Monroe County may be empty.

But officials say that are expecting to see this former education building to be vibrant filling in a void.

“Our community needs assessment as shown for many years this is the most needful area in our community. It’s the most under-served area,” said Tim Lee, the Executive Director at Pocono Services for Families and Children.

Pocono Services for Families and Children purchased the vacant 92,000 square foot building for $3.1 million.

Lee says they plan to use the 50 acres outside the building for nature trails, a community garden, and outdoor classrooms.

According to officials, this former elementary school will be transformed into a service center making it a one-stop shop for residents.

Programs like Women Infants Children or WIC, Area Agency of Aging, Women's Resources, and Habitat for Humanity plan to have offices inside the center.

“Any individual that walks through the front door we will be able to address it from this facility,” added Lee.

And that's not all, the center will host kindergarten readiness programs which will include outdoor classrooms and an aftercare program for eligible children.

“I think this has been a forgotten community and bringing this here will only enhance and encourage and edify the children from birth to five years old once we get hold of them at that age they can't do nothing but succeed,” said Sherese Wyche, family advocate.

Work on the child care wing is expected to wrap up before the fall.