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Family in Indiana converting a 109-year-old school into a home



Franklin, Indiana – In their quest to buy their dream house, Stacie Grissom and her spouse Sean Wilson are taking an unusual step. The couple made the decision to buy a 109-year-old Franklin, Indiana school and turn it into a spacious residence.

Over the years, Union Joint Graded School Number 9 has served a variety of purposes outside of its initial intent. It was once a school for roughly 20 years, after which it was converted into a barn and later into two apartments.

When Grissom and her husband made the decision to relocate their family from the East Coast back to Indiana, they knew they wanted to create a unique home, therefore they were interested in taking on the challenge of turning a school into a home.

“It just so happened it went for sale. It went for sale right when we were looking for houses, and we just got lucky,” said Grissom.

The final footprint of the house will be approximately 4,500 square feet, with four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, an office, a spacious kitchen, and a living area. The basement will eventually grow to encompass nine thousand square feet and become an apartment for family and storage.

“One of the things that has made it a little easier cognitively is thinking ‘What would fit well in a school that was built at the turn of the century?’ So that helps you consolidate a lot of the design choices,” Grissom said.

Even though it doesn’t appear to be finished, Grissom stated she intends to move into the house by the end of the winter of 2024. Since buying the house back in August 2021, she and her spouse have been working on it. The house required new plumbing and electrical work, foundation repair, all new windows, and a new roof. The house now needs a kitchen, two and a half bathrooms, floors, drywall, insulation, and plaster repairs.

“I think it will be nice to have more space,” Grissom said. “One to entertain friends from the East Coast and to entertain giant family. Just have parties and friends and kids and lots of people in and out of the house.”

According to Grissom, maintaining the home’s original status as a school from 1914 is one of the project’s most crucial components. She is finding fittings that complement the history of the house and restoring the old doors.

“I get a lot of comments on social media like, ‘Wouldn’t it have been easier to tear it down and start over?’ and yeah it probably would have been easier and cheaper to do that, but I don’t like wasting things, and it would have been sad to see this building get torn down,” said Grissom.


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