Renovate Ohio's Historic Schools

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Renovation Is Good for the CHILDREN and COMMUNITY

  • Renovation of existing schools can provide state-of-the-art educational facilities at a cost equal or less than that of building new. Schools, just like other buildings such as homes, offices, and churches, have proven to be responsive to changing times.
  • The learning environment inside a renovated school is no different than that of a new school. Large windows allow natural daylight to brighten classrooms and important gathering spaces such as auditoriums remain important in the use of the school.
  • Schools located in the center of town provide students with a tangible connection to the greater community. Across the country, the trend has been to abandon older, walkable schools in favor of a consolidated “educational campus,” usually closer to the edge of town. This practice has been shown to be detrimental to children’s health and welfare.
  • Schools are not isolated from the communities that they serve. Now more than ever, children need to feel connected to the social continuum of past and future generations.

“If we really think a good education requires new buildings, why do we want to send our children to Harvard?”

– Royce Yeater, school facilities architect and head of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest office

  • School renovation is fiscally responsible. Renovation usually, though not always, costs no more than new construction, and often much less, depending on the condition of the building’s structure.
  • Because renovation is typically the better value, the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s “two-thirds guideline” directs us to spend more – as much as 33% more – to build a new school when studies demonstrate that older schools can meet our needs at less cost.
  • The Ohio School Facilities Commission recommends demolition for abandoned school buildings because it knows that abandoned buildings are detrimental to a community. The community bears the burden of paying to demolish one of its most significant landmarks.
  • If a school building is abandoned but not demolished, there is no guarantee that the property will not become boarded up and neglected. Such an eyesore will have a negative impact on the entire community.
  • Reusing an existing building is environmentally responsible. Sixty to 65 percent of most landfill sites are made up of construction debris, mostly from the razing of existing buildings. Recycling existing buildings teaches the value of preserving and conserving our nation’s resources.
  • Once construction is completed, renovated schools have proven to be no more expensive to operate than new schools.
  • Our children learn in school about the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Renovating an older school building is an unparalleled opportunity to lead by example and teach our children a lesson in a way that no textbook could accomplish.

School officials are only beginning to learn what many private developers already know: Renovation of existing buildings makes good economic sense

Many existing schools have been successfully adapted to meet contemporary needs.

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