Booster

Group drums up support for old school's move

Former Clinton Heights Avenue high school no longer needed by CCS; group seeking new location, uses

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A group of residents hopes the former Clinton Township High School building, also known as the Annex, can be moved to High Street and given new life as a restaurant, hotel, store or another use.

Some Clintonville residents are seeking others interested in preserving and redeveloping the historic Clinton Township High School on Clinton Heights Avenue, Clintonville Historical Society President Mary Rodgers announced last week.

The two-story brick building sits east of the newly remodeled Clinton Elementary School.

Often called the Annex, the building was designed by David Riebel, the first architect for the Columbus school system, and built in 1904, according to the announcement from Rodgers.

"The Columbus Public Schools has announced that the Annex building is no longer needed for school purposes," she wrote. "The building will be demolished unless it is moved to a different location."

"It is a neat building, well worth preserving," said Ed Lentz, interim executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, in the announcement.

The building features seven large classrooms, each with high ceilings, wood trim and large windows, plus multiple cloakrooms with plumbing and ample common areas. The 10,300-square-foot wood-frame structure with a brick veneer has been well-maintained, Rodgers said; the roof, gutters and downspouts were last updated in 1998 and the windows around 1993.

"The building could be used alone or as the core to a larger overall development," she wrote. "Redevelopment plans will need to include relocation of the building from its current site on Clinton Heights Avenue. The cost of moving the building starts at an estimated $200,000 to $250,000; the actual cost will depend on the distance and direction of the move.

"There are several available lots along the (North) High Street commercial corridor that would offer opportunities to position this building for commercial and mixed use. The community is receptive to traditional and innovative concepts. Brainstorming sessions have yielded a variety of ideas."

These include restaurants, a boutique hotel and/or a specialty grocery, according to the announcement.

"Clintonville is home to many artists, so gallery, performance and live/work space is desirable," Rodgers added. "The community has a strong connection to education, so concepts that partner business with school-age children would also be desirable."

"The Clintonville Historical Society strongly supports the relocation and redevelopment of the school," Rodgers said in a prepared statement. "We would like to see it remain a part of our heritage while filling current needs in the community."

The group of longtime Clintonville residents trying to save and redevelop the annex building includes Mary Beth Hirsch and Clintonville Area Commission member Nancy Kuhel.

"I am excited to be working with people in the community to find a creative new life for a very beautiful and historically significant building -- one of the very few left," Kuhel said. "The energy, excitement and sense of possibility that has been generated in the brainstorming sessions are inspiring and speaks to the love of community, and its history, that makes Clintonville, Clintonville."

For additional information email Hirsch at mbhirsch@columbus.rr.com, Rodgers at mrodger5@columbus.rr.com or Kuhel at nkuhel@yahoo.com.

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