An online petition by Twinsburg residents seeks to save the Old School from demolition.
No final decision on tearing it down the historic school building has been made as city officials continue to gather information. But city officials, including Mayor Katherine Procop, have said that the building should be demolished because it would be extremely expensive to retrofit.
City officials don't know yet how much it will cost to demolish the building.
But some residents want the city to restore the building and save it. Those behind the online petition, which has collected more than 140 signatures as of Sunday, say the building is part of the city's history.
The Old School in Twinsburg is a one of a kind Architectural Landmark. Removing it from our City would remove one of the highest profile structures in our community. Thousands of Twinsburg residents have gone to school there including employees of the Old Chrysler plant and Kent State/Geauga students. It could remain a central focus for Performing and Visual Arts, Ecclectic retail and up to 30% Condo/apartment as per City Zoning Regulations.
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.
Last month, 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.