Old Ravenna High gym razed

By Diane Smith | Record-courier Published:

Ravenna’s old high school soon will be a vacant parcel in the center of town.

A month after demolition began on the Coll Annex, which had housed the school’s gymnasium, only the exterior beams of the building and one wall in the back of the building were all that remained standing last week.

As a reminder of the building’s past, the basketball hoops, clock and scoreboard were clearly visible from outside the security fence on Clinton Street.

By week’s end, those, too had been demolished.

All Excavating of Youngstown began demolition on the structure in October, starting with the Coll Annex, which was constructed in 1957.

The original school, built in 1921, is still standing, as is Whittaker Hall, which was built in 1967. The walkway that connected Coll Annex to the main building was the first structure to go.

The Portage Port Authority agreed to develop the site if the district would clear the land. A market study on the 5-acre parcel at the corner of Main and Clinton streets is pending.

Bill Wisniewski, director of business operations for the district, confirmed that the original 1921 structure is next on the demolition company’s to-do list, but much work remains before any demolition can be easily seen by the public.

First, the company must remove all of the wood from the building, including doors, door frames and window frames, and any wood frames around chalkboards. This step is necessary because all bricks and metal are being sorted on site for recycling.

Next, he said, contractors will be removing some of the artifacts from the building, including the main arch and the bricks that spell out “Ravenna High School.” That step, he said, should take place in mid-December.

Once the demolition starts, it will begin in the north corner of the building that housed the “old gym” of the building.

Observers may notice some work going on in the southwest corner of the property. That, Wisniewski said, is a water line that will be used to keep the building wet during demolition to keep dust at a minimum.

Wisniewski said when he visits the site to inspect it, he often finds people looking at the school and expressing fond memories.

“Today I went there and there was a man who said he went to school there,” he said. “I asked him if he had any memories and he said, ‘I have a lot of memories.’ People ask me questions and I try to answer them the best I can.”

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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