A former alternative school for teens is shaping up to be a busy recreation center for residents of all ages in New Hanover Township.
Officials said Tuesday minor maintenance has already begun at the site of Perkiomen Valley Academy at 2373 Hoffmansville Road, Perkiomenville. The school closed its doors back in 2010.
The township purchased the property June 26 for $412,500. The 8,500-sq.ft. building, constructed in 1993, contains a large gymnasium and kitchen, said Recreation Coordinator Connie Garner.
The 12.6-acre parcel was previously listed for approximately $2 million. It had been on the market for about two years, officials said.
The purchase was funded entirely by the township’s reserves.
Township Manager Ed Wagner said the board of supervisors felt the purchase was a good opportunity because the municipality needed to expand its recreation programs and special events due to a blossoming population.
New Hanover was recently named the fifth fastest-growing township in the state from 2010-2012, when its population rose from 10,939 to 11,703, Wagner noted.
“Recreation is at the core of most families, and the township thought this was the best option to offer services to our residents,” he said.
Garner, who is spearheading the project, said the possibilities for the spacious building are many, including offering it up for birthday parties and event rentals to hosting volleyball and basketball leagues as well as reading clubs.
More informal uses, like being open for seniors who want to get together to play cards, are also being considered. Garner said the recreation center could also accommodate various exercise classes.
“It’s really going to be hit or miss in the beginning,” she said of the programming. “We are going to try things and if they don’t work, we’ll try other things.”
The township is currently exploring the recreation needs of the community through a survey on their Facebook page, New Hanover Township Recreation.
Garner said while the township had previously discussed relocating their administrative offices to the location, officials ultimately decided against that, preferring the current, more centralized location.
To date the building has undergone a thorough cleaning and some minor maintenance, she said, noting it was in great shape.
Programs will be announced as they become available.
New Hanover is hosting a family-friendly movie event, Disney’s “Brave,” July 27 starting at 8:45 p.m. at Hickory Park, 2140 Big Road, Gilbertsville. It is free and open to the public.