Maggie Ortgiesen discusses the IBSSS campus and tourism issues with the youngest participant in the Expo, Kira Jacobs.

More than 125 people, from Tilford Elementary 4th grade student Kira Jacobs, to Vinton’s leaders in business and government, gathered in the VSHS gym Wednesday to share ideas about the future of the Iowa Braille School campus.

City leaders continue pondering an offer from the Iowa Board of Regents to assume ownership of the entire campus, and considering possible uses for the building, both present and future.

Drew Conrad of the University of Northern Iowa Institute for Decision Making said he was very happy with the turnout, as well as the hundreds of ideas that particpants wrote on note cards. Members of the committee in charge of reviewing ideas manned tables with information about a variety of possible uses: Education, government services, business, recreation, housing and tourism. Along with information about the IBSSS campus, the event also included information from other communities and even other states where old buildings found new uses in those areas. From a hydro-powered cotton mill in Rhode Island that is now an apartment complex to a former post office building in Cedar Falls that is now a bike shop, the displays showed information and photos of several historic facilities.

Conrad said his staff and some UNI students compiled the information from those other communities about how those historic buidings found new uses. The next step is for Conrad and his people to review the imput from Wednesday’s expo with local committee members.

The community is still in the early stages of this process, with no decisions or even recommendations expected for several weeks or months.

See more photos of the Expo HERE.