Northampton Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKERPlans to convert the Central School into 12 apartments were approved. PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKERPlans to convert the Central School into 12 apartments were approved.

Council OKs Central project

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Developer will convert school into apartments

Ranked as one of Northampton’s foremost historic buildings, the Central School building on Main Street was given a new lease for the future when borough council July 20 approved plans for the long-idled two-story brick structure to be converted into 12 apartments.

Bath developer Tom Kishbaugh, of Royal Development Company, was given the green light by council to proceed with plans for the conversion of the structure into one- and two-bedroom units.

Six council members voted to approve the plans submitted by Kishbaugh. Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. cast the sole no vote. He made no further comment, but, at the earlier planning commission meeting, disagreed with the proposed traffic pattern, which had cars exiting the rear parking lot onto Main Street.

Councilman Robert McHale, not present at the meeting, voted in favor of the project as a planning commission member when it recommended approval last month.

Kishbaugh’s plans also earned zoning board consent, with 22 parking spaces rather than the required 24 spaces.

Councilman Ed Pany asked when work would begin; Kishbaugh said he was looking at a September start.

The developer proposes two-bedroom units on each of the first and second floors, with two additional units on a lower level. Plans call for new windows, extensive interior remodeling, some exterior improvements and landscaping.

The Central School, erected in 1885, was first Allen Township High School, at which there were four students in the graduating class and one teacher. The borough was a compilation of villages — Stemton, Newport and Siegfried — and became a borough in 1902.

For reasons unknown, the school was later called the Brooklyn School, and in 1910, the high school moved to Lincoln Avenue. The building then housed elementary school children.

During World War II, the building was a drop-off site for metals and food cans for the war effort.

In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, it was a teen center that hosted activities and dances. When the high school on Laubach Avenue underwent renovations in the 1980s, the 10th-grade classes attended the Central School.