SIDMAN – When Forest Hills School District sold its former middle school property last December to Quality Life Services of Northern Cambria, Justin Beyer and other neighbors heard it would become a personal care home or nursing home.
But while no official word was announced, the rumors began to circulate as neighbors watched work crews start renovations on the 1427 Frankstown Road building. On Thursday, Beyer said neighbors had still not been informed of the plans.
“We don’t like the secrecy of it, to start with,” Beyer said Thursday at Long Equipment, 1490 Frankstown Road. “It just helps fuel the rumor mill.”
Beyer and other neighbors talked about the situation at a farm supply store, located within sight of the former school property. They agreed the most persistent rumor was that the school would become an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center.
Amanda Jennings is founder of both Quality Life Services and Allegiance Rehabilitation. She is married to attorney Broc Jennings, a Forest Hills graduate.
On Friday, Amanda Jennings confirmed that Allegiance Rehabilitation Center Inc. is expected to open later this year as an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Beyer said he is concerned about the safety of his children and his property. His family has been farming the Croyle Township location for generations.
“How is it going to be staffed? What about security?” he said. “I just don’t see this being a good fit for all the residential area. All the neighbors feel the same way.
“It’s just a bad deal for everybody.”
The neighbors have not been alone in their frustration. Although Amanda Jennings insists Allegiance has kept municipal leaders in the loop, Croyle Township supervisors said during the May meeting the board had received no official word on plans for the property. A resident had asked if the school would become a drug rehab center.
On Friday morning, Supervisor Lynn Bourdess said, “I’ve not heard anything official.”
Supervisors have no say in the property’s final use, he added.
“Our hands are tied,” he said. “They can do with it what they want, really, because we don’t have zoning.”
Beyer admits he is not a big fan of land use regulations.
“I wouldn’t like to be told what to do with my land, either,” he said, “but I’d want everybody to know what it would be.”
Although Amanda Jennings insisted on Friday, “There hasn’t really been any secrecy,” on Tuesday, her husband, Broc Jennings refused to detail plans when contacted by The Tribune-Democrat.
He said no information would be provided until a public meeting scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. July 18 in the former school’s auditorium.
“That’s what the town hall meeting is for,” he said. “I wouldn’t have any comment before that.”
Asked specifically about a drug treatment center, Broc Jennings said, “I am not saying one way or the other. I can’t confirm or deny that.”
Attempts to reach Amanda Jennings were not successful until The Tribune-Democrat obtained the Allegiance Rehabilitation incorporation document from the state. The
document identified the corporate address as
1427 Frankstown Road.
Fifteen minutes after a copy was emailed to Broc Jennings, asking for a response from him or Amanda Jennings, she called The Tribune-Democrat’s reporter.
Beyer said he and his neighbors blame the Forest Hills School District board for including a restriction on future use of the building for education when it put the school up for sale.
Board President Galen George defended the restriction on Friday.
“We didn’t want a charter school that was going to take money and students from our school system,” George said. “It would be bad for everybody in the school district.”
Although he pointed to Croyle’s lack of zoning, George said Allegiance will have to go through state licensing requirements.
“They are going to have to go through the hoops with whatever license they have,” he said.
The school board is encouraged that, as a private, for-profit company, Allegiance Rehabilitation Center will be back on the tax rolls, George said, adding that he remains optimistic about the new facility. He pointed to the investment that the Jennings have made in the property.
“They are local people,” George said. “Broc grew up around here. I don’t think there is anything they are going to do that people will be upset with.”