AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

April 16, 2014

College to raze old middle school

GROVE CITY — At 101 years old, the former Grove City Middle School will soon be razed.

Last summer, Grove City College purchased the middle school at 130 E. Main St. from Grove City Area School District. It was built in 1913. 

It went on the market after the new middle school was built on East Main Street Extension, behind Hillview Intermediate Center. Staff moved out of the old school in the summer of 2011; classes began in the new school that fall.

The college believed the old building had another 3-to-5 years left in it, and could be used for intramural or recreational activities before it was razed.

However, "After two years of going empty (last summer) and the building's condition, there was no educational purpose we could turn it into," said Nick Hildebrand, college spokesman.

The college normally buys property along its borders as an investment for future projects after it's approached by landowners. The campus is landlocked and cannot expand without these purchases.

It eventually plans to expand the Field House on the lower campus and the parking lot behind it would decrease, which provides some parking for 200 students living at Colonial Apartments.

Colonial is right across the street from the old middle school, which the college planned to eventually raze to solve its parking quandary once the Field House expanded.

Now, the 1-acre middle school lot can provide 50 new parking spaces sooner, Hildebrand said. "Parking is a routine campus need," he noted. The lower campus also holds special events at Carnegie Alumni Center and games at the football field.

Anticipating the demolition, the Audubon Society helped a local member of the Boy Scouts build a pseudo chimney on the lower campus last summer for birds living in the old middle school's chimney.

Unlike other birds, chimney swifts can only perch in something hollow - and they have traditionally flocked to old-fashioned chimneys. The birds eat bugs in the summer and locals aware of that benefit wanted to build the habitat in the nature reserve next to the college football field.

They hope the chimney swifts will find their new home, which is right across the street from the old middle school.

With its expiration date coming much sooner than planned, the college will more than likely begin demolishing the antiquated building after graduation, Hildebrand said.

Prior to that, asbestos and other potentially hazardous material will be removed by Environmental Protection Systems of Girard, Ohio, which expected to begin at the end of April, he added. Work sites in the old school will be sealed during the removal period for safety.

The costs of the asbestos removal and demolition will be considerably more than the $50,000 purchase cost of the old school - which was an added benefit to the school district's budget.

Published March 29, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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