Thursday, July 21, 2011

Old Springfield High

Springfiel High School
On Preservation Ohio's Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list

The old Springfield High school building was built 100 years ago in 1911. For the past few years it has sat empty. In 1960, due to an increasing population and a northward trend in this population, a new high school was built on a large tract of land at the north end of the city. It was called Springfield North and the old Springfield High became Springfield South.
As the population migration to the north was primarily white, the whiter, wealthier families were drawn to the district even more & North became the "white school" and South became the "black school". The irony of North adopting the fetish of a panther, especially in the 60s, was not lost on many.

As the overall population shrank from the 80s on, the need for 2 schools, the rising cost of maintaining the older building became prohibitive. With state school building money flowing like water & the vast grounds around North, it was decided to build a new building there, demolish the old North & close South.
While North was fine, it was certainly no architectural gem. An orange brick mess of boxes, it was typical 60s institutional crap. South was designed and built at a time when architecture meant something, buildings were built to last and to inspire the people using it. Unfortunately, it wasn't built for upgradability. Heating is probably antiquated. There is no air conditioning (I never had AC when I was in school). The thick walls & floors would make wireless networking problematic. The auditorium is probably antiquated. Trying to find a use for this building is going to be hard and expensive. Now it has made Preservation Ohio's Top 10 Most Endangered List.
Springfield schools tried foisting it off on Catholic Central. Their building erected in 1958 probably needs replaced but the last thing they need is an even older building. Wittenberg or Clark State might be able to use it but would need help paying for renovations. Those 2 seem to be slowly gobbling up the city anyway.
About the only thing saving this school right now is nobody having the cash to demolish it. As South Fountain sees a bit of a renaissance, it would be sad to see this place go. Maybe Harry Denune could fill it with garbage.

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