A new chapter in the long and winding saga surrounding the former Francis E. Korn Elementary School in Durham will be written this weekend, as a ribbon cutting and open house will take place at the property, which is being transformed into a community center. On Sunday, Feb. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., residents are invited to see the work that has been done so far.
After Korn School closed in 2018, Durham residents overwhelmingly rejected bonding $7 million to acquire the building, located at 144 Pickett Lane, and convert it into a community center.
Then, in 2021, the Durham Board of Selectmen turned down an offer from Regional School District 13 to take ownership of the Korn property. At that point, then-First Selectman Laura Francis said, “I think it would be irresponsible for us to take it because, with the privilege of owning a building of that size, we cannot ignore that the costs are going to be significant. It is an older building, it needs to be updated.”
Still, many residents wanted to see the Korn property become a community center, and a petition gathered enough signatures to force a referendum.
Finally, on May 4, 2021, voters approved of the Town of Durham taking ownership of the former Korn School.