New life for old school; help for single parents going to college

    New life for old school. (WKRC)

    COVINGTON, Ky. (Joe Webb) - Covington found a new purpose for an abandoned landmark.

    The long-vacant "Lincoln-Grant School" in Covington is coming back to life with a new purpose. Covington's first school for African-American students is about to get back in the education business but in an innovative, new way. Developer Kimberly Stephenson was convinced she was unlocking a lot more than an 85-year-old art deco building at 8th and Greenup.

    Stephenson, VP of Marian Group, said, "We really have a love for re-purposing abandoned historical structures and trying to bring their historic beauty back to life in a way that will be useful to the community."

    Covington's traditional African-American school closed in 1976 and has been vacant since 2004. The Marian Group hopes to turn the mess of dust and peeling paint into what is called a "Scholar House," 45 apartments for low-income single parents who are enrolled in college.

    Florence Tandy, with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, said, "We'll have support service, academic services, childcare availability, after school care availability and supportive services for the whole family."

    Summer McClanahan just earned her GED and will be enrolling in business management at Gateway. She hoped to move in when they were finished. The $11 million renovation will turn the originally 1931 school building into apartments, offices and restore the auditorium for community use. A second building will be built on the back next to renovated basketball courts and ball field. It's more than just single-parent student housing. It also provides a supportive network in the housing community so that parents support each other and supporting the kids.The kids learned the importance of education along with the process.

    The Covington site will be the Marian Group's 6th Scholar House project. They've seen the concept help break the cycle of poverty. And it brings back to life an abandoned landmark so it can continue to be an anchor in Covington's Eastside.

    The construction project is in full swing. They hope to have the first families moving in by late 2016.

    The scholar house will have 39 two bedroom apartments and six, 3-bedroom units on the Covington campus. A similar complex opened fall 2015 in Newport and is run by the Brighton Center.

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