HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Changes are happening at a historic building in Hershey that houses the Hershey Theatre. Part of it was sold and another part was donated.
Milton Hershey School (MHS) is one step closer to expanding and helping more children in financial need thanks to a purchase by the Hershey Trust Company.
Purchased from The Hershey Company, the building located at 14 East Chocolate Avenue will be used in the expansion of the school, providing offices and meeting spaces for both MHS and Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS), according to a press release from MHS.
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“We are thrilled to be able to keep this beloved building in the Hershey family, and to repurpose it to enable a brighter future for the children we serve,” said Pete Gurt, ‘85, president of Milton Hershey School, in the MHS press release. “We could not have found a better location, right between the MHS and CHS campuses, to give our schools some much-needed space to grow.”
Originally built in the 1930s, the building was once the Hershey Community Building, which provided construction jobs for local people during the Great Depression. Over the years, it has had many functions, including housing the Hershey Theatre, which is now being donated to the M.S. Hershey Foundation and will continue to provide programs and events, the MHS release says.
The M.S. Hershey Foundation has been operating the Hershey Theatre since 1970, but now it owns the theater thanks to the donation. The foundation also operates the Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Story Museum, and the Hershey Community Archives, according to a release from The Hershey Company.
“Since 1970 to present day, we have basically been the lessee of a landlord,” said Donald Papson, president and executive director of the M.S. Hershey Foundation, “Currently, though, we are going to own this building, which is really exciting because this 46,000-square-feet beautiful masterpiece is basically part of the culture and the history and the legacy of Mr. Hershey.”
The theater is about 46,000 square feet, but the entire building is over 200,000 square feet, Papson said. According to the MHS press release, the Hershey Trust Company purchased the rest of the building for $6.5 million. That space will now be used by MHS and CHS.