A former Franklin church will see new life as a special education learning center.
The former St. Mary Catholic Church in downtown Franklin has been sold to the Warren County Educational Service Center.
WCESC Superintendent Tom Isaacs confirmed the sale, which was finalized Tuesday.
WCESC purchased for $400,000 the entire campus, which included the former church, rectory, garage, parish hall and a parking lot across the street. That was below the church’s asking price of about $650,000, according to Isaac.
“As soon as I heard it was on the market, I paid a visit because it already had classrooms,” he said.
The former rectory had already been converted into office space and will be used by WCESC in the same way, Isaacs said
WCESC will be separating the church building from the rest of the campus to resell as a church, he said.
The former parish hall, which contains several classrooms, a large room and a full-service kitchen, will be used to expand WCESC’s special education operations. Currently, WCESC has about 85 special education students with severe emotional disabilities enrolled at its Laura Farrell Learning Center in Franklin.
“We’re experiencing a high demand for special education classrooms,” Isaacs said. “The numbers are growing and this will allow us to grow into the future.”
The plan is to move about half the students to the new St. Mary Learning Center and continue to use both buildings for future growth, he said.
WCESC expects to be in its new spaces as early as February.
Although the former parish hall will become WCESC classroom space, Isaacs said the weekly community dinner that the parish sponsored for many years on Wednesday nights will continue in the former parish hall.
“We want this community asset to continue to be used by the community,” Isaacs said.
The church, which was decommissioned last August, moved into new spacious quarters at the new St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church on Yankee Road in Springboro. The parish put the property up for sale after the move to its new facility.