For some students who decades ago were provided with an education at St. Ann's School in Lansford, they might potentially find that the building once again fulfills their needs this time providing them with housing.
The 86-year-old building along East Bertsch Street was closed in 1982 by the Diocese of Allentown and became a part of Our Lady of the Valley School in Lansford, which is now Our Lady of the Angels Academy.
The masonry structure that was St. Ann's School has been converted into St. Ann Senior Apartments, a 17-unit complex providing subsidized facilities for citizens 62 and older. All are one-bedroom units.
An open house was held recently, with scores of people some of them former students touring the structure.
St. Ann Senior Apartments is owned by Catholic Senior Housing and Health Care Services of Bethlehem, which is a division of the Catholic Diocese of Allentown.
Shannon Marlow, building manager, said the building already has one tenant with two more scheduled to move in within the next two weeks.
She said the process for converting the old school into senior citizen living began in 2007, but physical construction began in 2009.
Present at the open house were Mark Mason, director of Catholic Senior Housing and Health Care Services, and Ann Conboy, the assistant director.
Mason said this is one of seven apartment communities owned by Catholic Senior Housing, but the first one in Carbon County.
He said there is 24-hour maintenance available, and it is a secured building.
According to Marlow, all the apartments are air-conditioned and have individually controlled heating. They are all handicapped accessible.
They have cable TV hook-up, some on site parking with secured lighting, a community room with auxiliary kitchen and lounge area.
There are coin operated washers and dryers.
Rent is limited to a maximum of 30 percent of annual adjusted gross income.
St. Ann's School opened to students on Aug. 24, 1917. Four years later, plans were made for construction of a new school.
The cornerstone of the school was laid on Sunday, Sept. 24, 1924, with a parade, the singing of hymns and patriotic songs, and stirring addresses. The Rev. Msgr. Michael C. Donovan officiated and expressed best wishes on behalf of Cardinal Dougherty.
In 1954, the last high school class graduated: the parish high schools consolidated, creating Marian High School.
In 1972, shortly after the Rev. Thomas E. Hoben arrived, major renovations were started on the school. Sacred Heart School in Nesquehoning closed, and its students were welcomed at St. Ann's. In September 1973, there were, for the first time in the school's history, eight grades, with an enrollment of 250 students.