The Transformation of a 1912 Railway Station into a Classroom

gThe 1912 Grand Trunk Passenger Railway Station in Valparaiso had a one-way ticket to a landfill. But Jon Groth marshaled the support of the community to save this building and transform it into a 21st century classroom. Jon is the Area Director/Principal of the Porter County Career and Technical Education. With the support of lots of volunteers, this 3200 sq. ft. building was pulled by a 5 ton truck about 1/8th of a mile from its location just west of Calumet to its present home just south of the school. It was fraught with drama during one critical point when Canadian National agreed to close the track for eight hours to allow the building to be winched up a slight slope and over the tracks. “As they started to pull it up that slope, the weight pulled the truck back to the building,” Jon said. So they tried again, and broke a chain. The operators got another chain and finally winched it across the tracks “with no time to spare,” Jon added. What’s next?  Named a Fellow in The Society in part for repurposing an historic building, Jon is preparing to open a cosmetology school in the refurbished classroom during the 2018 – 2019 year. This program will be offered on location rather than be outsourced. “It will be great new addition for our students,” Jon added.

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