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Mayor Procop: The Old School Should Be Demolished

Mayor Katherine Procop said it would cost up to $8 million to properly rehabilitate the Old School.

Twinsburg Mayor Katherine Procop said Tuesday she believes the Old School should be demolished.

"It’s a really difficult thing to retrofit a building like that," Procop said after a group of residents came to support saving the Old School from demolition. "We have spent a lot of time, a lot of hours analyzing it. I am of the mindset that it needs to be demolished. It’s past its use."

No final decision on tearing it down has been made as city officials continue to gather information. City officials don't know yet how much it will cost to demolish the building.

Resident Michael Turle said the city should restore the building to save its past.

"This is important to me as a lifelong Twinsburg resident," he said. "I see this issue as being about more than just an old building. Its about Twinsburg’s past, present and future.

"It comes down to desire," Turle added. "Do we want to do something with this place or do we want to just knock it down? That’s a part of our history."

The Old School was built in 1920 and was Twinsburg's only school until the late 1950s. It was closed as a school in 1992.

More recently, it was used by Kent State University, but the university moved out of the building last year when the new campus opened. The Twinsburg Community Theatre has used the building, but the city hopes to move the theatre over to the old township hall on the other side of public square if the sale of that building goes through.

Twinsburg-based Pervanje Architects conducted a general condition and code compliance assessment of the building a few years ago. The assesment helps officials understand what fixes are needed to make the building leasable.

Planning and Development Director Larry Finch said the building has numerous problems that make it practically unfixable.

And even once millions of dollars are sunk into it, it would cost about $700,000 in annual maintenance costs, Finch said.

It also would be difficult to market for businesses and other commercial uses.

Only about 46 percent of the building was considered leasable, Finch said. Most buildings have about 75 percent leasable space.

Procop said the Old School has been a liability for the city for some time and it's time to move on.

"I know this is an emotional decision for a lot of people but we have to look at the future of the community, how we are going to spend our money and preserve our assets," Procop said.

Carl S February 13, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Sure, knock her down! And that building with Mail Pouch, and the old ugly Historical Society Bldg too. Make everything nice and "modern". All the old stuff is almost gone. Why keep anything? "Put up a parking lot". good 'ol Janis Joplin. (insert sarcasm on this post).
Brandon Fisher February 13, 2013 at 03:15 PM
I can understand both sides but financially it would cost more than the property is worth and that is just not economically smart
Nassman February 13, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Brandon, you are correct. Everyone has an opinion on what to do with the old school but no one can come up with a plan on how to finance the needed repairs. It is also disturbing to see "life-long" residents posting ridiculous conspiracies and rude comments about our city leaders.
Jackie February 13, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Nice job, Carl! Quit tearing up Twinsburg, it's UNRECOGNIZABLE now. Mayor Procop, you need to step up and listen to the residents and do something HONORABLE for a change.
Nassman February 13, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Really Jackie? Should the Mayor listen to the "old" Twinsburg residents or the "new" Twinsburg residents? Do you really think that the 90% of Twinsburg residents that never went to the old school would really approve of spending $6 Million to bring it into compliance? Maybe the old Twinsburger's vote should count more because us 20 year newcomers infringed on YOUR corn fields to raise our families. Or, maybe the city should have gated off all of the entrances in 1977 so that Twinsburg could still be 3,500 residents and cow pastures.
Carl S February 13, 2013 at 11:18 PM
thought we were talking about a school building? "old" and "new" residents? corn fields? I was hoping to have a calm discussion about the design of downtown Twinsburg. sigh.......Personally, I'm not a big fan of having Walgreens on the Square. But thats hindsight now. Hopefully the city will retain historical places a little more. Not much left. Hudson had the right people in office, at the right time. But ya cant beat our residents!! Great group of people. We are all very lucky!
Sally February 14, 2013 at 01:54 PM
The problem is we live in America and consider a building from the 1920's old, go to Europe some time. This is our history and if we want to destroy where we came from maybe we are just ashamed.
R E Brown February 14, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Neither skill or intelligent thought are needed to keep issues in our lives unchanged. The article clearly states that much thought and professional analysis had determined that millions in tax dollars would be needed in upgrades, and due to limited lease-able space we would still be left with a financial loser. Personally, I would prefer to consider a revenue positive option for this issue, rather than the potential for tax increases and potential for loss of city services.
Cassandra February 14, 2013 at 03:11 PM
I can appreciate the desire to want to preserve history, and understand how difficult change is... but realistically, there are a lot of problems with that building. As a KSU student, I was in that building until last August. There are a lot of problems with the building. It would be very difficult for a business to come in and use the building, and parking is a nightmare. Renovation is not a practical use of taxpayer money.
Reminderville February 14, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Tear it down and build and adult store. The square already has check cashing and a roll your own smoke shop; classy indeed. Adult store would be a great fit!
Peter Hale February 18, 2013 at 02:46 AM
The numbers only consider immediate financial gain. We need to be looking further down the road than the next election. Some really ratty buildings have been saved by the West Side Market that any "study" would have shown as unvialbe. They are very viable now. The City says they need at least 75% leasable space when the Old School only has 45%. How about some creative zoning variances within the building. Kiosk type sales in the hallway etc. The central areas arounc 82 and 91 are already zoned C-5 ostensibly to "encourage compact, sustainable, mixed-use development in the central part of the City. Residential mixed-use development with offices, retail and residential components are encouraged." Quoted from Title III page 47 City of Twinsburg Zoning and Development Regulations. If they have a future plan for the property, they should be talking about it. If they don't, they should have one before they tear down the Old School. Once it's gone, it's gone. Somebody needs to do a gut check on their inflated maintenence numbers as well $700,000/year for upkeep? After Re-Hab? Somebody's been gettin papers at the smoke shop and it ain't for Bull Durham. While short term viabilty sounds good. Long term historical and community preservation sound much better to me.
MIchael Turle February 19, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I've seen and heard many detractors on my proposal. My suggestion was that it simply be considered for re-purposing as an arts center as the Wayne Center for Arts did with a historical bldg. in their community. I'm not talking about breaking the bank account to do this all at once. This structure did not fall apart in one year, it would take many to reconstruct it. As far as financing the project, yes it needs a plan, but first we need to see if this is something we would like to do or have in our community. Then the financial challenges could be addressed as to insurmountable or not. Leasing portions of the bldg. for shops or retail was NEVER in my proposal. That was tried in Macedonia, and failed. I'm talking about an arts center for music, theatrical, pottery, woodwork , painting. Many other things our city could offer our residents and surrounding communities to make this place viable. And "Nassman", as the lifelong resident I believe you are referring to, it's not about old Twinsburg vs. new Twinsburg. It's about future Twinsburg, or what it could be. You can make your point without insulting someone, just because their opinion differs from yours
Peter Hale February 21, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Yes, I think newer people with a vision for the future that want their kids to grow up and continue to live in a community that shows appreciation for the new AND the old would definantly want to preserve a piece of local history. Does anyone think there's even the slightest chance that there will be a group of people trying to save and restore the Giant Eagle Strip Mall seventy five years from now? ROFL
Peter Hale March 21, 2013 at 08:59 PM
You know I just did a Google search for Twins Museums. There's one for the Minnesota Twins, but doesn't seem to be one for people Twins. I wonder where on earth would be a good place for something like that. Maybe some city in a far away place that was founded by Twins. Maybe someplace that has many local Twins, maybe a fantastical place that had a Festival every year where Twins from all over the world came together to celebrate there twininess. If ONLY!

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