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'Going according to plan': Special ed purchases former nursing home

Managing editor

Marion County Special Education Cooperative approved the purchase of the former Golden Living Center building at 1500 E. Lawrence, Marion.

The cooperative approved the purchase price of $100,000 at a meeting Monday evening via telephone conference.

The City of Marion had purchased the long-term facility for $100,000 shortly after owners closed the facility.

Marion Economic Development Director Doug Kjellin was contacted Monday evening, following the cooperative’s board meeting.

“The city would not have purchased this building without a plan,” Kjellin said. He continued the city received assurances from the special education board of its interest in the facility before the city purchased it.

“We didn’t want an empty building,” Kjellin said, and this was an opportunity which benefited the city and the county.

A deed restriction set by Golden Living Center hindered another elderly care business on the property.

Chris Cezar, special education cooperative director, said all of the county’s special education facilities are being considered in the move.

“We’re committed to stay where we’re at through the 2008-09 school year,” he said.

The City of Florence purchased two of the three buildings this past summer, currently in use by the cooperative. USD 408 maintained ownership of the administrative building.

When the former nursing home became available, Cezar said the board was interested in the building which is located near Marion Elementary School.

During the past several years, the special education board had discussed moving the special education facility near a school campus so services could be shared.

Cezar said he anticipated the first phase of the relocation would be completed by next August, the beginning of the 2009-10 school year.

The cooperative board probably will close on the property in early 2009.

“This use will replace lost employment almost one-for-one,” Kjellin said, referring to the lost number of employees when Golden Living Center closed.

“This is all going according to plan,” he said.

Last modified Dec. 23, 2008

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