Northeastern district allowed to demolish building sports academy charter schools wants to use

A magistrate has denied a request for a temporary restraining order against the Northeaster Local Schools demolishing one of its former school buildings.

Earlier this month, the Springfield Sports Academy at Northeastern asked a judge to prevent Northeastern from demolishing an unused building before offering it for sale or lease.

Northeastern said in court filings that the building does not meet the definition of an unused school building.

According to court filings, the building, at 2613 Moorefield Road, is not yet an unused school facility. Legally, a building that has been used for school purposes since July 1998 and either has not been used for at least a year or less than 60% of the building has been used for academic instruction must be advertised for sale within the district, according to Ohio law.

Northeastern said in the lawsuit that it last used the building on June 19, 2023 for operations for the Board of Education, in a June 12 filing. This would make it legally not an unused school facility.

Magistrate Melinda Reardon denied the motion, saying that the charter does not appear to allege that Northeastern did not offer the property for sale or lease for a period of 60 days as required by the law it cites in its complaint.

On March 29 this year, the sports academy entered into a charter agreement with Richland Academy of the Arts, a school in Mansfield, as its sponsor to allow the sports academy to operate. It used the Moorefield Road building as its address for operations.

“The building was not an unused school building at that time either and there was no obligation of the Board to offer it for sale to [the sports academy,” Northeastern stated in court filings. “How could the alleged community school possibly be located in a building it has no rights to own or be offered the rights to own?”

At the end of last year, the district partnered with GovDeals to auction off Rolling Hills Elementary School and Northridge School, which were no longer needed after the district completed two new pre-K-12 buildings for Northeastern and Kenton Ridge students.

Rolling Hills, located at 2613 Moorefield Road, is a 52,428-square-foot school building with 29.39 acres of land. It was originally constructed in 1974 with additions in 1997.

Northridge, located at 4445 Ridgewood Road E., is a 75,454-square-foot school building on 29.49 acres of land. The one-story school was originally constructed in 1961.

However, Superintendent John Kronour said in February the auction sales had to be voided because GovDeals failed to provide legal notification.

“Despite all the publicity we carried out around the auction, including sending out a press release, articles run in the Springfield News-Sun, and postings on our website, a paid advertisement was not placed in the legal notices section of the newspaper. As a result, everything we did became null and void,” he said at the time.

He said then the district planned to redo the legal sale process in the near future for Rolling Hills and the Northridge properties.

According to court filings, contractor bids for demolition had been accepted as of June 14.

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