Libbey High School took another step toward extinction Wednesday, when the Toledo Board of Education approved a demolition bid for the historic building.
The former high school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in September, but board members have argued that the building at 1250 Western Ave. is too costly to maintain. Sue Terrill, a member of the preservation committee, said after the vote that she felt like “our history is lost, and there’s no future.”
“It’s a day that we worked, hoped, and prayed would not happen,” she said. “I feel devastated that a community purpose could not be found to save a nationally designated landmark.”
The board approved a bid of about $940,000 by Evans Landscaping Inc. of Cincinnati to raze the shuttered school. The company’s bid — one of six — was more than $30,000 less than the closest competitor. Demolition is expected to begin in December.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission will fund most of the cost for the demolition, as it will at the former Beverly, East Toledo Junior High, Lagrange, and Newbury buildings, which all had demolition bids approved Wednesday by the board totaling almost $500,000.
Those buildings are part of more than two dozen buildings within Toledo Public Schools that must be demolished in the next year. The Libbey demolition is by far the largest and most expensive project.
Evans Landscaping has salvage rights for Libbey, but board Vice President Lisa Sobecki asked district officials that they request some items — possibly large pieces of marble or sandstone — be kept and reused at the property when it is vacant as a memorial to the building.
Ms. Terrill said she hoped the district involves Libbey supporters in a possible memorial, so that it could be something significant for the community.
Toledo Public Schools closed Libbey in 2010 after years of declining enrollment. The district estimates the building costs about $160,000 a year for utilities and maintenance even while empty. If demolition does not begin by the end of the year, the district would lose out on state funding for the work.
Attempts to find a buyer for the school were unsuccessful. The board of education approved a development agreement in April with the city to take over the fieldhouse and skill center, but the city declined because of the projected renovation costs. A last-resort public auction in August turned up no bidders.
The school, which opened in 1923, was named for Libbey Glass founder and philanthropist Edward Drummond Libbey. It was designed by Edwin M. Gee, supervising architect for city schools at the time.
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