The new owners of Howe Military Academy plan to reopen the shuttered LaGrange County campus as a faith-based educational facility.
The 135-year-old military school about 50 miles north of Fort Wayne announced last year it would close, with officials citing budget shortfalls, rising costs and declining enrollment.
World Olivet Assembly – a Dover Plains, New York-based organization that describes itself as “a global gathering of evangelical churches and para-church organizations existing for the advancement of world mission” – announced June 17 it had bought the 55-acre tract. The Zacher Co. confirmed the sale Tuesday in a news release.
Terms of the sale were not released, though The Associated Press reported in May 2019 the campus was listed at $4 million.
“The previous Howe campus will be used as educational facilities for the World Olivet Assembly, which consists of an international assembly of churches and Christian ministries, and owns additional properties across the country,” the evangelical organization said in a statement posted to its website. “Thanks to the former Academy, the new campus is already equipped with many amenities, including a chapel, a campus manse, student residences, dining hall facilities, administration offices, academic classrooms, and recreational facilities.”
The campus could serve up to 400 students, and classes could start this year, according to the statement, but that could depend on “necessary authorizations” and “COVID-19-related approvals for educational institutions.”
World Olivet Assembly plans maintenance and “campus enhancement projects,” the statement says. Representatives of the organization could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Howe Military Academy opened in 1884 and began admitting women more than a century later, in 1988. It has more than 5,000 alumni – including Thomas Parker, inventor of the ice cream Drumstick – worldwide, according to its website.
The campus includes an 1870s-era mansion once owned by namesake John Badlam Howe that is listed among Indiana's most endangered historic properties, according to the Indiana Landmarks preservation group.
The academy faced closure in 2014 but temporarily avoided financial concerns when a graduate donated $2 million.