SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After Pepperdine Elementary School shut down in the early 2000’s it became Pepperdine Learning Center. That also closed and now the building has sat empty for about four years. But it could soon serve a new purpose
Community Partnership of the Ozarks submitted a proposal to purchase the building from Springfield Public Schools.
“This is a vision that the Community Partnership has had for quite some time,” said Michelle Garand, deputy director of Affordable Housing & Homeless Prevention.
The organization would move its Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention Center from East Central into Pepperdine.
“We are in a very small building, it’s about 5,000sq-ft. Pepperdine is considerably larger at over 21,000sq-ft,” Garand said.
She says the building would allow the organization to create a one-stop shop for the people it serves and bring services closer to those who need it.
“What we saw was that that quadrant of the city is really much like a service desert; there’s not a lot of community service located in that area,” she said.
At least one neighbor agrees more help is needed to address housing and employment issues but most others have some concerns.
“I don’t know that it’s a bad idea, but my question would be is how well planned it is,” said Connie Duer.
They are concerned the center will increase the homeless presence in their neighborhood.
“We have a lot of people that go by that are homeless,” said Susan Bell. “We have a lot of people that park in that parking lot and linger around in there.”
“Are they thinking about the people in this neighborhood? Most of the people own their homes, so that’s their lifetime investment,” said Duer.
Garant says residents will have a chance to share their opinion at a public meeting in December before the purchase is official
The property will then have to be rezoned and approved by City Council. If all that goes through, the Affordable Housing Center expects to be in the Pepperdine building by June of 2018.