WARREN - Mickey's Army-Navy Store soon will be full of students pursuing higher education.
Eastern Gateway Community College on Thursday announced its plans to relocate its Warren Center to the building that currently houses the iconic store.
The facility was purchased by the college's partner, Higher Education Partners-EGCC Ohio LLC. The other businesses in the plaza, Subway, Dub City and PsyCare, will remain open, but the Army-Navy store will undergo extensive renovation.
The move to 239 Main Ave. S.W. will provide 10,000 square feet of classrooms, computer labs, tutoring space and student services office space, an elevator and bookstore. The renovation of the building is estimated to cost between $5 million and $7 million, EGCC president Dr. Laura Meeks said Thursday.
The college projects enrollment to double by this time next year - there are about 100 students enrolled - and has already outgrown the current location at the Atrium Building on Market Street.
"We've used every nook and cranny," Meeks said.
The current center contains two classrooms and several offices in less than 4,000 square feet.
Aside from the green roof - EGCC's color - Meeks said the new location is also appealing due to its accessibility.
In addition to the 60 parking spaces alongside the facility, Franklin said he has already spoken with the manager of the city's parking deck about offering parking to EGCC students and faculty.
"We're committed to making sure parking is not an issue for students," he said.
The move will also mean the addition of 25 employees, including five part-time and 20 adjunct instructors.
Franklin said EGCC will help Warren by bringing affordable, quality education, as well as stimulating area business.
"Thank you so much for believing in downtown Warren, and we believe in you," he said.
Franklin said he will miss Mickey's Army-Navy Store, "an institution in the city of Warren," and called longtime owner Marty Cohen a good friend.
"I sort of grew up in Marty's store as a kid. Thank you, Marty, for being such a great community support," he said.
Cohen said he never thought the day would come that he would say goodbye to his store, but being a big advocate for higher education, he's happy about the transition.
"I'm very excited about raising the bar in Trumbull County. Our students need it. It's going to be a wonderful addition to not only Warren, but to our whole area," he said.
Warren Councilman and education committee chair James Valesky, D-at Large, said the expansion opens up the door for future collaborations between the two entities.
"Educating our children is a big part of our city's future. We have to give our children the tools to bring our city forward into the future, and those tools are education and knowledge," he said.
The store that opened in 1948 will begin going-out-of-business sales. Officials hope to have renovations complete for the start of fall semester on Aug. 25.