Judge orders hearing in College Heights school suit

A Centre County judge has ordered a hearing to decide just who has the rights to the former school building in College Heights.

President Judge Tom Kistler scheduled the hearing for Oct. 17, when he will hear oral arguments from State College Area School District, which operated the school for 40 years and most recently used it as a printing facility and office space, and the heirs of Adam and Rebecca Krumrine, the couple who donated the land to the district more than 80 years ago.

Heirs of the Krumrines filed their suit after the district announced intentions to sell the property to Penn State for $400,000. The school would then become the new home of University Press. The heirs, C. William Garner, Helen Garbrick and Michael R., George T. and Edward W. Homan, said their great-grandparents gave the property to the district strictly for use as a school, with provisions in the deed that it be returned in the event that changed.

Kistler asked that the heirs file their briefs on the case by Sept. 23, with the district filing its briefs on the case by Oct. 7. This comes after the two sides have volleyed arguments back and forth via filings since July.

The district almost immediately filed its brief, citing its previous positions. The documents claim that the language of the deed, which states that the property was to be used “for school purposes” and would revert to the Krumrines in the event that a school was not built by September 1931, does not demand that the building and its land be given back after decades of continuous use by the district for a variety of purposes.

The district also reiterated its position that Penn State is a school, and therefore passing ownership to the university does not violate the terms of the deed if it was deemed enforceable.