New ?lease? on life for Bown-Corby

The historic 1928 building at 412 N. Second in Marion started as an elementary, but now has become a 12-unit apartment complex. The Marion community was invited to an open house Saturday by owner Tom George of Wichita.A new chapter begins for Marion?s Bown-Corby building, which has served as an elementary school, an outreach program, and now as a 12-unit apartment complex.

In celebration, the community was invited to an open house Saturday, sponsored by the owner Tom George of Wichita and Real Property Management, handling day-to-day operations.

Hundreds of people toured the 1928 building, and many of them were former elementary students.Todd Winter and Amy Boudreaux, who both attended elementary school at the old Bown-Corby building, took a stroll down Memory Lane during Saturday?s open house of the new 12-unit apartment complex. Boudreaux and Winter looked around at what was once the lunchroom, now transformed into a two-bedroom apartment.

Todd Winter pointed out his classroom while talking with other former students.

?This was my kindergarten class,? he said. ?I almost forgot about the open house, but my parents Earl and Joan Winter reminded me.

?I?m glad I came,? he added. ?It brought back a lot of memories.?

Former students Amy Boudreaux and her friend, Chrissy McFall, enjoyed the walk down Memory Lane, too.

?I think they did a good job keeping it close to original,? Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux pointed to a room in the basement.

?The counselor was here,? she said,? but I don?t remember if we had a principal (in this building).?

Two sisters, Paula and Nancy Edmunds, remembered their former classrooms.

?It?s really neat what they did,? Nancy Edmunds said. ?I was hear from kindergarten through second grade.?

Paula Edmunds said she attended first through third grades at Bown-Corby.

?My third grade was those two rooms up there,? she said pointing upstairs.

As much as the building was a legacy, former students remembered their principal, Maude Thompson.

While people walked by certain rooms, her name was part of their conversations.

Joni Crofoot said her sister and husband from Wichita are renting one of the two bedroom apartments.

?They grew up here,? she said, ?and are ready to retire. The apartment will be a weekend thing for them.?

Crofoot said she was happy about the conversion of the school into an apartment building.

?Sometimes people come in and they can?t even recognize (the interior) anymore,? she said.

Paula Edmunds said that in El Dorado the city wouldn?t go for an old school being transformed into something like this.

?I like the wood floors upstairs,? she added.

A spokesman with the management company said the price of units can range from $300 for a studio apartment to $600 for a large two bedroom, utilities included.

The one bedroom apartments are listed at $350 and smaller two bedrooms for $550.

?We have already rented out four units,? he said. ?We have a single person, a young newlywed couple, a newspaper lady and a couple from Wichita.?

So far, he added, it?s been a mix with not just one demographic represented.

This is the third building Tom George has renovated, the spokesman said.

The other two elementary schools, Sunnyside and Kellogg, are in Wichita.

?(The owner) has bought one more in Newton and two more in Wichita,? he said.

Regarding the Bown-Corby building remodel, the representative said, they hope to attract Tabor College students because of convenience.

?With utilities included,? he said, ?they only have one bill to pay.?

The Bown-Corby building is also within the guidelines of the National Historical Society.

?The crown molding, windows, floors and storage cabinets are some of the things the historical society says we must keep original,? he said.

For more information or to arrange a visit, call 316-630-8002.

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