Re-used in Richland

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board September 12, 2011 09:13 pm

For more than a century, a piece of ground on the east side of Richland was put to one of the highest uses — it was the site of three public schools.

The first was built in 1888. It was replaced in 1912, and again in the 1950s with the building that still stands today.

Since 2007, though, when the Pine-Eagle School District closed Richland Elementary due to declining enrollment, the building has not fulfilled its full promise.

Yes, the Baker County Library moved its Richland branch into the former school.

But the library occupied just a small part of what is one of the biggest publicly owned buildings in Eagle Valley.

We’re pleased to learn that this state of affairs will not last.

By as soon as next fall, 10 apartments for lower-income seniors or people with disabilities could be available in the 27,000-square-foot building.

Plans also are in the works to remodel parts of the structure as a community center and Grange hall.

These improvements are possible due to a $1.7 million grant from the state, as well as donations from several philanthropic sources, including the local Leo Adler Foundation.

We’re excited to see that a venerable building which might have been forgotten will continue to play a vital role in its little valley.