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Residents Want to See City's History Stand Through Old School

Multiple people spoke out to city council Tuesday to save the 93-year-old building.

Residents Want to See City's History Stand Through Old School
For months Twinsburg resident Michael Turle has been heading a grass-roots movement to save Twinsburg's Old School from demolition, paving the way for an updated downtown.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 27 city council meeting, Turle rallied his supporters to ask city officials to postpone the demolition and look for a way to renovate the 93-year-old building, with little cost to the city.

"I am asking of one of our councillors to have the courage to make the motion to suspend any efforts toward demolition put to a vote of the people the preservations of the Twinsburg Old School for a fine arts center," Turle said.

At the end of the meeting At-Large-Councilman Gary Sorace made the motion to ask the Architectural Review Board to postpone the demolition at it's Sept. 5 meeting. Sorace and Ward 2 Councilman Bob McDermott were the only members to vote in favor as it was turned down 5-2.

Save the Old School

"Safeguard the heritage of Twinsburg, by preserving structures or sites that represent its time," Irwin Gemlich  of Ravenna Road, said to city council, leading off the ranks wanting to share their thoughts Tuesday.

Many cited the historical meaning of the building which  was built in 1920 and was Twinsburg's only school until the late 1950s. It was closed as a school in 1992.

An emotional Virginia Wetzel, now of Bedford, said the aging building is the one thing that welcomes her home to Twinsburg.

"One of the few things that had not changed was the Old School," she said.

Others took a more creative approach to share their thoughts. Mary Welsh Koohnlein shared a poem a friend of hers had written on the fond memories of the building.

"It's not just the building you destroy, it's your own history you forsake," she read.

In 2012 a local architect told the city it could cost anywhere from $5 to $8 million to renovate the building. Sheryle Kvitko chairs funding and research for the Save The Old School campaign. She said those numbers weren't accurate after calling the same architect.

What they want is much different than a feasibility study, Kvitko said, to renovate one section at a time would be much less costly.

"We've done so much research," she said. "It's a beautiful building. Knocking down the Old School, you're destroying the history of people who live here. Give us a year and let's see what we can come up with.

Turle said after the meeting that he was disappointed but appreciated the council members who tried to hold off on demolition.

"What's the big hurry on bringing this thing down?" Turle said. "Let's look at some options."

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