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Reuse plan fades for Iowa Juvenile home at Toledo, Iowa

August 22, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"We're back to square one," Tama County Economic Development Director Heath Kellogg told the Toledo City Council on Monday night, Aug 13, when asked about progress on the closed Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo.

"It's going to be a tough sell," he warned.

A plan by Hobart Restoration, Cedar Rapids, to repurpose the 27 acre campus is no longer in the works, Kellogg said.

Article Photos

Aerial photo shows uses Hobart Restoration had proposed for use of the 27-acre campus in Toledo.

The state institution and adjoining property has sat idle since ordered closed in January, 2014 by then Governor Terry Branstad and Human Services Director Charles Palmer.

Hobart had multi-use plans including single-family residential, senior living apartments and a memory care unit for the property. However, transfer of ownership became an obstacle Kellogg said.

Kellogg had earlier told of efforts to interest a number of colleges and universities in the property to no avail. He said Monday night his office has found colleges were now focusing on the internet and not interested in property.

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The campus underwent major improvements less than 10 years ago with more than $20 million invested by the state.

The work included installation of an $8 million geo-thermal heating system and construction of an addition and remodeling of the school.

When closed the students remaining were transferred to other locations including out-of-state where some problems were reported with their care. A total of 93 employees lost their jobs in the closing.

Judges have also been reported faced with the question of the disposition of cases involving those under-age.

The Iowa Juvenile Home was opened in 1920 on the former campus of Western- Leander Clark College which had closed and relocated to Coe College in Cedar Rapids two years earlier.

Over the course of the next 94 years it served as a home to children in need of assistance, orphaned children and later girls adjudged delinquent. Following World War II into the 1960s more than 200 students were living on the campus at times.

Students attended school on campus with some attending Toledo High School until Herbert Hoover High School was offered at IJH. Vocational programs ranging from auto repair to farm operations were available. High school activities including sports were included and the Juvenile Home is remembered for participation in and hosting track and field.



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