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Hoven hospital building to become temporary school

HOVEN (AP) — A former hospital in Hoven started by Catholic nuns in 1943 is getting new life as a temporary school.

Officials have decided to house students at the former Holy Infant Hospital during the next school year as they work to rebuild the junior and senior high school destroyed in a May 25 fire. Investigators believe the blaze began in the attic above the gymnasium, and they don't suspect foul play.

The hospital, which closed in 2010, is across the street from Hoven's elementary school. The building's location was a factor in the decision to hold classes there rather than in portable classrooms, along with the fact that little work has to be done to get it ready, Superintendent Pat Jones told the American News.

Teachers met last week to choose classrooms and offices in their temporary home. Crews who are working to clean the building should be done by July 14, allowing teachers to start setting up their spaces. Once the teachers are settled, the school will schedule an open house so students and parents can learn the layout of their new school.

Setting up portable classrooms would have required more work, according to Jones.

"If we would have brought in modular units, we would have had to run water lines to them, sewer lines, Internet, all that stuff, establish all those temporary lines, and that would have been a lot to do," he said.

Work on a new school won't begin in earnest until after Labor Day, according to Jones.

"We're not doing anything with the new building until after school starts this fall," he said. "Our top priority is making sure that we have the hospital ready to go, that we have all the staff hired and that we're ready to open school."