YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Adams School in the Lansingville neighborhood is one of the abandoned schools in Youngstown that needs demolished, but there are three others in various states of disrepair that need either torn down or occupied quickly.
One school official says they can’t afford to demolish buildings and need some help.
Ken Stanislaw, president of Lansingville Neighbors, recently sent a petition with a hundred signatures to the Youngstown School Board, asking that Adams School be torn down.
“They’re going to keep them vacant for 15 more years? You’re just going to let it sit?” said Stanislaw.
Rob Kearns is director of operations for the Youngstown City Schools, which also owns three other abandoned schools.
“I don’t think anyone would disagree that that building needs to be torn down,” Kearns said.
Kearns says Princeton Junior High is beyond repair and that it, too, needs to be demolished. Hayes Junior High is beyond use as a school, but the shell is in good shape and could be used for something else.
“It would need a ton of work at the Hayes building to make that possible,” Kearns said. “We have had some interest in the Hayes building over the last six months.”
It’s much the same story for the Sheridan Elementary school on Hudson Avenue.
“It’s in better shape than those other facilities. It can be saved — but it still needs a lot of work as well,” Kearns said.
Kearns estimates that demolishing the schools will cost anywhere from $700,000 to $1.2 million each.
“Either way, we’re not close right now with the funds to engage in a project like that on our own,” Kearns said.
Recently, grants were made available to demolish houses and abandoned manufacturing plants, known as Brownfield sites. But, there was no money for schools.
“We’ve had some talks with some city council members about partnering together to see if we could get some of school that are unused declared as Brownfields and used in some of those things,” Kearns said. “We’re in talks to try and do some of those things, but nothing has been finalized yet.”
At Adams School, bricks are falling from the facade, and some of the windows are wide open — as was one of the doors. There’s graffiti everywhere.
“Something has to be done. I’m trying to bring that to their attention, to have it torn down,” Stanislaw said.
Kearns says that by law, school districts in Ohio can only sell their buildings to taxing bodies, such as the city of Youngstown, the state of Ohio or the Port Authority. If buildings are sold to private investors, they must be sold at auction.