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Published: Thursday, 10/20/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Nathan Hale elementary to be razed by year's end

Community effort fails to save 1920 school

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A community group proposed turning the 91-year-old school at Upton and Foster avenues into a family resource center. A community group proposed turning the 91-year-old school at Upton and Foster avenues into a family resource center.
AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge

The former Nathan Hale Elementary school has rejoined the demolition list after a last-ditch effort to reuse the building failed.

The school -- shuttered in 2009 because of enrollment and funding declines -- will be knocked down by the end of the year, Toledo Public Schools Business Manager James Gant said, and abatement work was recently completed. A community group, led by Rosa Turnbough, proposed turning the school at the intersection of Upton and Foster avenues into a family resource center but could not raise enough funds to buy the property.

"I think the timing was a little off," Ms. Turnbough said.

Nathan Hale, opened in 1920, was one of six schools left off the master plan for the district's Building for Success plan, a decade-long program that involved more than $600 million of renovations, rebuilding, and demolitions of buildings, using largely state funding. The district's intention was to demolish the building, but officials were approached this summer by Ms. Turnbough's group, Core Development, which wanted to rehab the building.

Mr. Gant, with Board of Education support, entered into negotiations with Ms. Turnbough, first with the stipulation that her group have financing for the building's demolition -- about $500,000 -- if its plans fell through. Otherwise, the building could have sat vacant or been shifted back to TPS hands after demolition deadlines passed, meaning the district no longer would qualify for state funding for the work.

The district and Ms. Turnbough, along with other groups looking to join in the project, were discussing a possible public auction for the building, with a minimum bid of about $50,000. Mr. Gant said school board members expressed support for the idea, but Ms. Turnbough could not come up with the funds in time.

Ms. Turnbough, who has been involved in Toledo community development corporations, said her group still hopes to develop a one-stop-shop family resource center in the area.

"We are committed to addressing the issues in urban communities," she said.

The Nathan Hale Community School addition, built in the 1970s with school, city, and private funds, also will be knocked down as part of the demolition work. The community school, which provided night classes and recreation space, was shuttered in the 1980s because of budget cuts.

Nathan Hale is not the only district building that has a date with the wrecking ball. More than two dozen buildings must be demolished, with the most notable being Libbey High School. Asbestos abatement is nearly complete at the school, which was placed last month on the National Register of Historic Places, with windows being removed as part of the abatement.

The school board should vote in coming weeks on demolition bids.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.



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