U-CF Education Foundation puts barn on hold, explores new locations

This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation has put the barn project on hold as they look at other options for a new youth center. (Candice Monhollan)

The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation has put the barn project on hold as they look at other options for a new youth center. (Candice Monhollan)

A mere two months ago, the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation had its sights set on an unused barn within walking distance of the high and middle school as a place to create a youth center.

But now, after a community conversation on the barn project set for May 1 was postponed, the Education Foundation is looking into options which may work out better.

“As we’ve gone through the process of doing due diligence on our proposal to create a youth center at The Barn on Doe Run, it has become increasingly evident that there were additional questions emerging that we don’t yet have answers for,” said Education Foundation President Mike McGann in a press release April 16. “Additionally, other location opportunities have emerged and we feel it is important to further investigate those options.”

… [Please continue the story on the Southern Chester County Weeklies website by clicking here.]

It was estimated back in February that the barn, which currently sits in disrepair, would take an estimated $800,000 to renovate and construct into a useable youth center.

It, of course, was a rough estimate, but looking at it more, it was decided to also look into other places.

“We looked at some of the challenges with the barn and it’s a pretty high hurdle with the building itself, which we think dates to the 1800s.” McGann said. “That makes it possibly a historical structure in the eyes of East Marlborough Township. Everything above the foundation is probably not long-term saveable, so we’d basically be building a whole new building.

“When you add all the additional steps we’d have to go through, so by that nature, it’s a much more complicated process.”

The Education Foundation is looking at a new location, which is also nearby to the high school campus.

However, details on this new location cannot be revealed at the present time.

“It came to light another facility that has a ton of positives and a lot less hurdles that’s about a mile from the campus,” McGann said. “The only reason we’re not going into detail is because that side hasn’t had it publicly vetted and we don’t want to mess the deal up.”

It’s hope all the information can be released and try again with the public forum sometime in the fall.

On the positive side of things, if all goes well with the new location, the youth center could come into existence much quicker than if they continued with the barn.

“It may be a really good opportunity for us and the difference between a multi-year process to get a program up and running to potentially 12 to 18 months,” McGann said. “It’s something that could really impact kids in the high school right now (and) it’s something our partners at The Garage are very excited about.”

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