Community Bank System, parent of Community Bank, is planning to buy a vacant former elementary school building in Olean that will be converted into a new loan operations center.

The DeWitt-based company said Thursday that the Olean City School District agreed to move forward with a formal approval process to sell its Ivers J. North Elementary School building after opening bids on the facility Thursday.

The bank noted that it has “experienced significant growth over the last decade,” with 185 branches throughout New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. That includes more than 33 branches in Western New York. One its three primary operations hubs is in Olean, where several senior executives are also based.

“The City of Olean remains an important hub site for the bank, and turning the school into a loan operations center will allow for continued growth of the bank’s lending portfolio,” said Brian Donahue, executive vice president and chief banking officer.

The bank will also provide funding to relocate the neighborhood playground now at the school site. “We look at this not only as an expansion for our company, but an opportunity to return a vacant building to life and revitalize the neighborhood,” said Richard Heidrick, senior vice president for retail banking.