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New Apartment Development to Pay Tribute to Historic Newport Schools

One shuttered school will be torn down and another will be built back up in spirit thanks to a new apartment development coming to Newport.

The Academy on Fourth will consist of approximately 200 market rate apartment units in the center of town, on the site where the Fourth Street School operated until last spring. The Newport Board of Education sold the building and consolidated the third, fourth, and fifth grades into Newport Primary School on York Street.

The sale is expected to close last month, and it was reported in June 2015 that the school board accepted the offer of $2.6 million from Carmel, In.-based CRG Residential for the property.

On Monday night, the Newport city commission agreed to issue up to $32 million in industrial revenue bonds to assist with the project. 

The school building, constructed in 1939 as part of then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's public works projects, will be razed. The former Southgate School, which historically served Newport's black students during segregation and is no longer used, will benefit from the development. CRG has agreed to invest funds as the building is transformed into a museum.

Fourth Street School

Additionally, there will be significant infrastructure improvements to Southgate Street, thanks to CRG, including underground utilities and a new road, City Manager Tom Fromme said. 

An effort will be made to save as many historic pieces from inside the Fourth Street School building, as well, and one of the exterior walls will be incorporated into the new apartment development. 

When completed, the new building will also have a commercial space on the ground floor at Fourth & Monmouth Streets, said attorney Jim Parsons, who represents CRG, and spoke at Monday night's city commission meeting. 

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher