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.