A mere $300,000 would be sufficient to make the Clinton Annex building usable again, the chairwoman of a committee looking into preserving the historic structure told Clintonville Area Commission members last week.
An investment three times that amount would still not exceed the "break-even point" for a nonprofit day care center in the building, Mary Beth Hirsch said during a report on her panel's activities.
"The building is in good condition," Hirsch said. "It can achieve usability for not much money."
The committee chairwoman pointed out that the building, erected in about 1904 and at one time the high school for Clinton Township, was used for classrooms by the elementary school on the same property as recently as three years ago, before Clinton Elementary closed for major renovations and the students were housed temporarily at the Hubbard School in the Short North.
Two architects on the annex-preservation panel came up with the $300,000 estimate, according to Hirsch. That would help pay for adding a heating and air-conditioning system as well as make the structure accessible for people with disabilities.
Officials with Columbus City Schools have plans to demolish the Clinton Annex to create more green space on the campus of the elementary school, but are holding off to allow neighborhood residents time to provide an alternative plan.
That alternative plan settled upon by members of the committee, which CAC members voted to create in July, is the Clinton Children's Center. This would be an "educational facility designed to provide child-centered programming during non-school hours," a draft proposal from the panel states.
"The Clinton Children's Center is a financially responsible model; the break-event point occurs at 75 children," according to a fact sheet distributed at the meeting.
"The building's overall capacity could be as many as 100. The break-even point computations provide a premium program with enhanced services on par with the existing Clintonville average weekly cost for school-aged children in center-based care, about $183."
The center would create seven full-time and seven part-time positions "at competitive rates of compensation," the fact sheet continues.
It would not require any investment on the part of the school district.
"I think we have a very viable use here," Hirsch said at last week's monthly meeting.
She added that committee members would be getting together soon for another public meeting, but that date has not been set.
Hirsch also said committee members are attempting to arrange a meeting with Clinton Elementary administrators and members of the school's Parent Teachers Association, who are on record as favoring the building's demolition, in order to outline plans for the children's center.