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Former Amherst school getting new life

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AMHERST — A ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning marked the ongoing transformation of the Amherst Central Middle School into an assisted living community.

Sprenger Health Care Systems COO Michael Sprenger and CEO Nicole Sprenger attended the groundbreaking with Mayor Mark Costilow and Lorain County Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Gallo as well as other prominent local figures.

In a speech at the ceremony, Michael Sprenger thanked the city, school districts and all the other entities that helped support the project.

The project, costing $9.5 million, will add 30 jobs in Amherst and convert the three levels of the school into 40 assisted living and independent living residences. The project started earlier in the year at the third level and will continue working down.

The 56,000-square-foot Amherst Central Middle School has been empty for more than three decades. The school was built in 1907 with a gymnasium added in 1922, according to the company’s news release.

The ceremony ended with a tour of the third floor, where new lighting, drywall and plumbing with showers have been installed. When Amherst Mayor Mark Costilow saw the progress being made, he said he was quite impressed.

“I’ve seen it at its worst, and if they would have blindfolded me and drove me around the block a few times, took me inside of that building and put me on the third floor, I would have no idea where I was,” he said.

Sprenger Health Care Systems is a leading developer and owner of senior living communities and services in Ohio, Indiana and South Carolina.

Amy Sanfilippo-Steadman, vice president of acquisitions and development for Sprenger Health Care Systems, said the company has owned the property in 1984. Sprenger Health Care Services only recently found a use for it after receiving federal and state tax credits through the historical tax credit program in January.

A floor plan has not been yet made public, Sanfilippo-Steadman said. Once complete, the living spaces will be available for anyone looking for assisted living.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.
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