Fayette County

Church hopes to buy former Julia R. Ewan School

Another group has its eye on the old Julia R. Ewan School property on Henry Clay Boulevard.

Lexington's Vineyard Community Church has signed a contract to buy the school, contingent on securing financing and getting a conditional use permit from the Urban County Government to operate a church on the site.

If the plan goes through, Vineyard would move its entire church operation to the former elementary school, associate pastor Jimmy Fields said.

Fields said the church hopes to nail down financing next week. A Lexington Board of Adjustment hearing on the conditional use permit is scheduled July 30.

"The facility looks very promising for us," Fields said. "We're really excited about it."

Vineyard Community Church has leased space at 817 Winchester Road for about four years. The lease expires at the end of this year, and Vineyard has been looking for a permanent location, Fields said.

The church, which formed in 2005, regularly draws about 500 people for services, Fields said.

Creation Kingdom Fairway LLC, whose leaders had hoped to buy the Ewan school and use it as a childhood development center, has withdrawn its permit application, according to the city.

The former public school off Richmond Road near Idle Hour Country Club is owned by Lexington businessman Bill Meade, who bought it for $1,225,000 at public auction in early 2009, after Fayette County Public Schools declared it surplus property. Meade said he bought the school, which he once attended, in hopes of seeing it preserved.

Vineyard Church wants to do the same thing, Fields said.

Vineyard would use the school gymnasium for church services and first-floor classrooms for related purposes, he said. Other space potentially could be used for social services programs for the community, he said.

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