Carden County School negotiating to buy Moran building

In an effort to eventually double its enrollment, the island’s Cardin Country School is negotiating for the purchase of the dilapidated Moran School building on Manitou Park Boulevard.

Indigo Architects owner Jeb Thornburgh, a former board member of the 40-student Christian school on Island Center Road, said the school has been in the “feasibility stage” of negotiations with the building’s current owner for a month.

Soundcare Inc., owner of the Messenger House and the adjacent Moran building, recently chose Carden as a potential buyer over several other suitors.

The company decided against its initial plan to demolish the four-story building after the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation helped Soundcare to find a buyer interested in preserving the 90-year-old building, which served as a dormitory and theater for the boys school.

Thornburgh said he became involved when Carden’s board asked him to help create a long-range facility plan for the kindergarten-8th grade school. He said the school has received dozens of requests from parents of prospective students and envisions needing an enrollment of about 100 students to be able to afford purchasing and renovating the Moran building.

“Negotiations are mainly an effort to come to an agreement on the time frame, extent of the work needed and therefore the cost,” he said. “It is in rough shape and represents an ambitious undertaking, but it can be done. It’s a handsome building and we’re intrigued with its heritage.”

Thornburgh said the school would have to obtain a conditional use permit with the city and that there would be considerable interaction with the neighbors. Issues such as parking, traffic and utilities would need to be addressed.

“We feel our school, now and if we move, is compatible in a rural residential neighborhood,” he said.

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