St. Paris work session to focus on purchase of Graham Jr. High

The council will hold a work session Nov. 16 to discuss options for tearing down or renovating the building, St. Paris Mayor Joseph Reneer said.

“The possibilities for that property are endless,” he said.

At the work session, the potential cost of tearing down the building will be presented.

Graham Local Schools has offered to sell the building to the village for $15,000.

St. Paris is the district’s first choice to purchase the building, Graham Local Schools Superintendent Matt Curtis said, because it will allow Graham families to continue to benefit from the property.

On Oct. 29 the board had a walk-through of the school to determine its condition. The property contains three buildings — two garage-style structures and the main school building.

It is currently being used as storage space, Curtis said, and was last used as a school in 2013.

The main building could be a liability because of its age, council member Terry Ervin said. The structure is over 100 years old.

“If you try to repurpose it, you could run into all kinds of problems with renovations,” he said.

The purchase of the property could have an immediate impact, Reneer said, on parking for the baseball fields next to the school.

“It’s a public safety issue because there is a lack of parking for those fields,” he said, which causes parents to park on the street.

Local emergency services has expressed worries because when cars are parked along Huffman Drive — the access road to the fields — an emergency vehicle can’t pass through.

Reneer would like to open up the school parking lot to parents and keep them off of Huffman Drive.

Other possibilities for the property could be holding community events there like car shows, Ervin said.

The next step is to learn more about grants that could cover costs no matter which direction the council chooses, he added.

Reneer is hopeful a decision will be made by the end of the month.

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