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Central historic gym on the chopping block

4 years 10 months 5 days ago Thursday, August 14 2014 Aug 14, 2014 August 14, 2014 7:47 AM August 14, 2014 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brittany Weiss

CENTRAL - A group aimed at preserving history and the art of Central are trying to put a stop to the pending demolition of an old high school gym.

It's the oldest, non-residential building in town and the Central Cultural Foundation doesn't want to see it go.

"People stood on the steps of this for graduation, they played ball here," said Central Cultural Foundation co-founder Dave Freneaux.

Built in 1927, the gym sits on Sullivan Road, near Hooper.  It is part of the old Central High School complex. It's been dormant for 10 years after it was shut down because of a sagging roof that was too expensive to fix.

Freneaux says the foundation is looking for as a center for an organization that preserves historical aspects of their city.  The group believes the old gym could be that place.

"It would be ideal for black box theater, for exhibits, for community events," he said.

The Central School Board has the final say in whether the gym stays or goes. The board will keep the three buildings surrounding the old gym, but have no solid plans for the gym itself.

"We came to them 90 days ago and said, 'Can you please tell us if we can raise the money and have a good plan that meets with your approval, can we do a cooperative endeavor and make this a historical museum, a cultural center,'" said Freneaux. "They said, 'Wait until we can figure out what we're going to do with the property.'"

At Monday's school board meeting, the board decided to demolish the building in 30 days, unless there is a fund-raising and renovation plan in place.

Freneaux says the funding can be found, but they need more time to get organized.

There is an online petition circulating to raise awareness about the pending demolition.

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