New Harmony’s old school has a new owner. Town Council approved a $125,000 bid Tuesday morning, but plans for the 31 acres and building are guarded.

Lights in the school have been off since 2012 when the town had to close it when costs became too much. Now, more than 7 years later, Erik Arneberg is ready to flip the switch back on.

“I’m totally convinced its people that will take care of the property and the bottom line is, Mr. Arneberg is wanting to save that building,” said Town Council President, Alvin Blaylock.

If walls could talk, they might tell you about lessons learned in the hallways. The As and Bs, wins and losses, and Rappites pride.

What these walls can’t know is what comes next.

Arneberg didn’t want to talk to the media following the Town Council meeting, but his attorney, Chris Wischer said there is a lot of work to do.

“His driving force in making the bid and purchasing this building is to save it, to repurpose it to put it to some use that’s going to be productive for the town,” Wischer said.

According to Wischer, Arneberg is still in the process of figuring out what exactly to do. Wischer says it will likely be non-profit.

In an email to Town Council, Arneberg said he hopes to develop a craft or trade school. Classrooms could be studios. Land out back could be farmed.

Neighbor, Connie Buller is glad to see something happen with the building. “There is going to be a lot of remodeling inside,” she said, “but I’m glad to see someone wants to go ahead with it.”

Wischer said Arneberg wants the building to say intact, which eases the mind of many worried about industry moving in.

“He’s confident once he gets in and gets a plan in place, it’ll be positive.” Wischer said.

New Harmony school taught a generation of students.

Who knows, the next generation might be its best yet.

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This story was originally published on March 19, 2019