Poland school board, community discusses fate of old elementary school building

Local News

On Monday night, a couple of ideas were run past the school board, which has yet to make a decision

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Poland’s North Elementary School has been closed now for five years, and the school board is considering options on what to do with the building.

On Monday night, a couple of ideas were run past the school board, which has yet to make a decision.

The elementary school has been vacant since 2016, and Monday night, the school board made a decision to move forward to demolish the building in order to save money.

That decision prompted alternatives from the public that the board hasn’t heard in the last four years.

“Until we made the decision to seek bids for demolition, we haven’t come up with anything that was a possible solution,” said Gregg Riddle, president of the Poland School Board.

Members of the Poland community put together a plan to turn North Elementary into a community center.

“What our vision is, is that North Elementary be turned into a community center that serves youth, families and seniors,” said village councilman.

The Mahoning County High School, which serves at-risk students, has targeted North Elementary for its new location.

“Any time a student has some type of adversity — circumstances beyond their control that impede their learning — we provide a lot of support in our building,” said Jennifer Merritt, principal of Mahoning County High School.

Merritt says the organizations, like the United Way, already work with their school and would be available to the people of Poland.

“We are a community learning center model. In that model, we have a lot of resources that would be available to the community for community use to support the community,” Merritt said.

The school board is in the process of releasing their specifications for the demolition to the public so bids can be received.

If the board agrees that one of the alternative plans is better, they are open to changing their minds.

“If the alternative is there to move in a different direction, we can do so until there’s a wrecking ball scheduled to show up,” Riddle said.

Riddle says he expects the board to accept a bid for potential demolition by their June 21 regular meeting.

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