St. Lawrence O’Toole School was a former catholic school at 617 Center Street, Ironton, Ohio. Constructed in 1910, the 11,910 square-foot institute served grades one through eight until the early 1980s.1 2 The building was repurposed shortly thereafter into a community center that lasted only a brief period.

In 2004, a private developer announced plans to restore the then-abandoned school, although funding was not acquired.1 The project received a boost in May 2009 when the Ohio Department of Development awarded the city of Ironton a $500,000 grant to assist in restoring the school. The monies would need to be loaned to the developers, administered by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.1 2

On July 2, 2009, the St. Lawrence O’Toole Church sold the school to St. Lawrence O’Toole Gardens, LLC for $51,000.1 Owners Sharon Hartwig of Ashland, Kentucky and Charles Kunkel of Wilmington, Ohio announced plans to rehabilitate the school into a 26-unit assisted-living facility titled “Close to Home III.” A rear 8,316 square-foot addition has been planned, and will feature a fireside living room, private dining room, television lounges, a beauty and barber shop, a therapeutic spa and chapel.2 The development is projected to create 30 jobs.1 The cost of the project is estimated at $3.2 million, funded entirely through private financing. $2.7 million of the funding is derived from the New Market’s Tax Credit program by The Finance Fund, a non-profit Columbus-based corporation. The credit program funding is earmarked for redevelopment projects in disadvantaged communities within Ohio.

The architect of the restoration is Decker and Associates of Middletown, Ohio.2

On July 24, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held. The renovated school reopened as Close to Home III in April 2010.2

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