EDITORIAL: Use Valpo railroad depot for training

2013-12-24T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Use Valpo railroad depot for training nwitimes.com
December 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The 1912 Grand Trunk depot in Valparaiso is a historic building and should be saved. Even better is a plan to turn this into a learning experience.

Porter County Career and Technical Center Director Jon Groth plans to move the depot and have it restored, over time, by faculty and students.

The 1912 Grand Trunk Depot was slated for demolition last year, but a community outcry for its preservation caused the Canadian National Railway to give the building a stay of execution.

Groth hopes to move the building during the second week of July.

He told the Valparaiso School Board last week that various leaders and businesses have expressed interest in his plan, including U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, Indiana Landmarks, the railroad and NIPSCO.

Groth said moving the building to his school's campus would cost about $84,000. A new foundation would run about $21,000.

Restoring the building would cost $80,000 to $100,000. That work could be done over a number of years to involve students and teachers in the restoration.

The urgent task is to rescue the depot, to prevent demolition. Doing so means shifting its location, so it is no longer threatened by the railroad's plan for that site.

But turning it into a series of teachable moments is even sweeter.

Canadian National had planned to spend $60,000 to $80,000 to demolish the building, Groth said. It would be a good display of the company's generosity to donate that much toward relocating the historic depot. If that doesn't happen, the fundraising efforts will have to be even more ambitious.

Groth's plan is good. The railroad should sign off on it — literally, in writing — rather than demolishing the building.

Even in a different location, the building will still be a landmark. It's worth preserving this bit of Valparaiso history.

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