'This is really about bringing people together'
NOTI, Ore. - Class has been out at Noti Elementary School for a decade, but the Fern Ridge School District still pays around $20,000 per year for the building to just sit there.
"Just to keep the bare minimum going and keep the buildings from falling down," explained Leontine Winters Krohn, president of the Noti Community Center.
She said her group has a solution for the district.
"Let people come in here," Krohn said. "Let's make this place alive again."
The community center doesn't have a building, and Krohn said they she want to buy the building from the district and fund it through community donations.
"Our school district basically told us we have any opportunity as a community to use it or we're going to lose it because they're going to sell it," she said.
Monday was the first day of the trial run for the Noti Community Center in the old school.
"We wanted a place for the whole community to be able to come together, where people of all ages can come together, if you have the talent and you want to teach it to your neighbors," Krohn said.
The community center will focus on the arts, an area that's been hit hard by recent budget cuts in districts around the area.
The kids in the creative writing class said it's something they've been missing at school for a while.
"Well, they're fun, they're not like school. They're fun," sixth-grader Cedars Marshall said.
"Typically, in rural Oregon, communities with not have a lot of money," Krohn said, "but we do have talent and big hearts, and so this is really about bringing people together that want to share and build community again."