It's been there for more than a century, so a few more months -- or years -- won't matter much to the former township schoolhouse in Clintonville.
It's been there for more than a century, so a few more months -- or years -- won't matter much to the former township schoolhouse.
Officials with Columbus City Schools say they don't need to know until fall 2012 just what is to be done with the so-called "1904 building," which shares a site with Clinton Elementary School.
Clinton Elementary, no spring chicken itself, having been built in 1922, is to undergo extensive renovations scheduled for completion more than two years from now.
The former township school located behind Clinton Elementary didn't meet the guidelines for matching state construction funds, so it isn't included in the renovation work. District executives and Columbus Landmarks Foundation officials are seeking to find some community consensus on what the fate should be of the older structure.
Nothing like consensus emerged at a meeting convened last week to hear from Clintonville residents and others regarding the future of the 1904 building, according to Carole Olshavsky, the district's senior executive for capital improvements; Kathy Mast Kane, executive director of the Landmarks Foundation; and Mary Rodgers, librarian and membership chairwoman for the Clintonville Historical Society.
Between 50 and 60 people showed up for a tour of the 1904 building, once a Clinton Township schoolhouse, followed by a gathering held at North Broadway United Methodist Church.
"It was a very well orchestrated meeting, no controversy, which is always good," Rodgers said. "No decisions were really made as much as it was gathering input."
"I thought we had a great turnout for the tour, great turnout for the discussion, and clearly very divergent opinions about what to do with the building, which we knew going in," Kane said.
"We think there are opportunities for that building but we need the community to weigh in on the importance of that building, what they think should be done with it," Olshavsky said.
An architect by trade who "loves old buildings" and generally favors preservation, Olshavsky said that she must weigh the district's interests when looking at structures like the former township school.
Olshavsky began the meeting by describing the parameters the district has set up for allowing other uses on its property. Rather than a long list of what's not permitted in excess space on school grounds, she said that such relationships are allowed only when the additional use is in keeping with the district's main purpose of educating students.
For example, Weinland Park Elementary School shares space with an Ohio State University child development center.
"That's a program that's clearly compatible with ours," Olshavsky said. "The use of the space has to be something that supports the district's mission."
Those in attendance then broke up in small groups to discuss how the building could best serve the community and what should be done with it.
In the end, they came up with: demolish it, move it or find a new use.
"There wasn't really any majority, as far as I could tell among those three things," Rodgers said.
Rodgers added that she was happy at least one person at last week's meeting suggested the 1904 building would make an ideal museum for the historical society.
"We certainly didn't come away with a consensus of opinion," Kane said.
In meetings devoted primarily to school district business, it's often difficult to get the view of the greater community on something like the fate of a historic structure, Olshavsky said, so it was good to have a gathering like last week's to "flesh out any and all possibilities for the building."
Columbus Landmarks Foundation officials are still seeking ideas, and especially ways to fund them, for the 1904 building, according to Kane. People may call the foundation at 221-0227.
"The conversation hasn't stopped just because the meeting is over," she said.