SHAWANO COUNTY (WAOW)- Mattoon Elementary was one of the three schools in the district to close back in 2016.
Since then the building has remained vacant.
However, the Town of Hutchins and the Village of Mattoon are joining forces, trying to turn the building into a new school for area kids.
It’s been three years since the playground of Mattoon Elementary had students running around for recess.
“I absolutely looked forward to the day where I would send my kid out the door and let them walk to school this is a small town we wouldn’t worry about it, ” said Zak Kickhaver a resident of Mattoon.
Now, many parents in the area have to send their kids on a bus up to 45 minutes away to Antigo.
The Village of Mattoon and the Town of Hutchins are hoping the vacant building can once again become a school.
Shepherd’s Watch Community is willing to buy the building to create a space to educate area children.
“If we get this property and we will get it we will start the groundwork for a Christian school,” said Wade Reimer of Shepherd’s Watch.
However, there is confusion over who owns the building.
The confusion over the ownership led to a lawsuit between the Village of Mattoon, Town of Hutchins and The Antigo School District.
“The Antigo School District says they own the building and refuses to sell it unless there is a promise made to not use it for a school,” said Anthony LoCoco a deputy counsel on the case.
“They don’t want the competition of a private school because some children from Mattoon would go to a local elementary school and they would lose funds,” said LoCoco.
LoCoco said the vacant building is costing taxpayers up to $40,000 a year.
The small town is just hopeful the rust on the unused swings disappear and the school playgrounds fill back up with the sound of laughter.
There is a hearing for the lawsuit on July 26th in Shawano County.
News 9 reached out to Antigo School District and they refused to comment pending the litigation.