Niles community says goodbye to former elementary school

Local News

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The former Garfield Elementary School in Niles was demolished, and there were a lot of emotions from those who spent time in the old building. 

“I hate to see it go, but I feel it’s for the good,” said Ed Kraft. 

Kraft used to be the head custodian at Garfield Elementary.

Tuesday morning, as he watched it get torn down, Kraft remembered turning off the lights for the last time.

“There were wooden beams down there where people would write their names and dates when they worked. It was a pleasure to read when I walked out of there. I knew my name was probably going to be the last on that beam,” he said.

Even with the good memories, he and local leaders knew that it needed to come down.

“It turned into a dumping ground — people dropping off mattresses, debris, garbage. It’s a good step in the right direction to clean up the south side of the town,” said Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz. 

Officials say this project was supposed to cost around $600,000. But, by bringing local and county governments together, they cut the cost to about $20,000. 

“This is a perfect example of how government should be working together to save taxpayers thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Sen. Sean O’Brien. 

Leaders say they have more projects like this in the works. In the meantime, they’re just saying “goodbye” to this building.

“It’s just a shame you can’t go back and say, ‘Daddy went to school here. Mommy went to school here.’ Gonna be houses here some day. Just a sad day,” Kraft said. 

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