Community First Solutions has sold its Partners in Prime building at 140 Ross Ave. to the Hamilton City School District.
Photo: Greg Lynch
Photo: Greg Lynch

Partners in Prime Hamilton building sold to school district

The multi-story building, which the organization will vacate by early January, will be used by the school district for its new blended learning program, to be called Miami School, as well as the district’s central registration operations, the Journal-News has learned.

The property sold Oct. 18, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office, but a price is not listed.

Partners In Prime will move the majority of its programming, such as quilting classes or card-playing groups, about two miles up the road to its Westover facility at 855 Stahlheber Drive, according to Amy Wylie, VP of Community Based Services.

“There are a few that we might not be able to transition right away because of space, but we are looking at a possible remodel at Westover as well as we go to into 2017,” she said.

The move brings Partners in Prime to one of two sites for Community First Solution’s wellness program, Elements.

“They’ll be able to take advantage of all the additional health and wellness programming that we do there including the pool and the weight rooms … and all that additional wellness programming on that campus,” Wylie said.

The Miami School will combine technology and software programs, along with hands-on instruction from teachers, for secondary students who learn best in a non-traditional environment, according to Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Tony Orr.

Students who work or have family obligations that prevent them from learning in a more traditional learning setting may be eligible to attend the Miami School, Orr said.

“Students will … work with teachers and technology part of the day,” he said. “The other portion of their day will be spent using the online educational technology at their own pace. This will allow them the freedom to learn, while recognizing that they also have other competing obligations.”

Recognizing that these students are young adults, the district is providing them with a “coffee-shop type atmosphere” to encourage their independent learning styles, said Mike Holbrook, assistant superintendent of instruction.

“This will be a great transition for our students as they enter colleges or a lucrative career,” Holbrook said.

Students will have the ability to earn a Hamilton High School diploma and will be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities and programs. The district will provide busing at various pickup points around the community for both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Central registration will include academic services, transportation services and food service.

Centralizing registration will mean that a family that has an elementary, a middle and a high school student will be able to visit one place to register all three children instead of visiting each individual building to register.

Central Enrollment is scheduled to open May 1, 2017, and the Miami School is scheduled to open in August 2017, district officials said.

Renovations and improvements required by the Ohio Department of Education regulations for schools will begin in a few months, according to Larry Knapp, business manager for Hamilton schools.

“The district is committed to maintaining the historical integrity of the outside of the building and has worked collaboratively with the city to get the building site zoned to house students, Knapp said.

Community First Solutions merged Partners in Prime into its operations in 2012.

Danielle Webb, vice president of marketing for Community First Solutions, said the move gives the non-profit organization an opportunity to reevaluate services provided by both Partners in Prime and Elements at a time when many traditional senior centers are giving up and closing their doors.

“We’re looking at how we can build and shape a service line for active older adults now, but also in the future,” Webb said.

That will give older adults a wider range of activities and individualized services, Wylie said.

“The next generation of seniors, they want things more à la carte, they don’t want to just say ‘I’m here all day: Entertain me,’” she said. “They want to pick and choose the things that interest them most.”

Partners in Prime, which has occupied the Ross Avenue building since 1954, will close its operations there in mid-December and reopen at Westover on Jan. 9, Webb said.

Webb said the timing of the school district’s offer arrived at a time when Community First Solutions was working to determine how Partners in Prime would better serve active older adults and continue to expand its social and recreational programming in lieu of the recent loss of state funding.

While neither Webb nor Wylie could say precisely how much the building sold for, they did say Community First Solutions did not make a profit on the sale.

“We’re selling it for below appraised value, actually, because the timing was right, the feel was right, this was the right decision,” Wylie said. “We don’t want to be waiting for some developer from who knows where to come by. This was the right opportunity that landed in our lap, so we were willing to go even below appraised value to make this a win-win for the entire community.”

That includes Partners in Prime’s 500 existing members and the 1,600 non-resident members 50 and older who are part of the Elements program.

Money from the sale will be used for the move, transition of services, expansion of the parking lot at Westover and any renovations or new programming, Webb said.

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