Repurposing And Saving Parma Senior High School

AN OPEN MESSAGE TO THE RESIDENTS OF PARMA, PARMA HEIGHTS AND SEVEN HILLS

WHAT IS CLEARLY BEST FOR Parma Senior High School

Raised on the West side of Cleveland my parents eagerly wished just to own their own home. Thrilled to buy their first home in Parma in 1953, coincidentally it was the same year the new Parma Senior High was opened. Visiting the school at the grand opening tour I was thrilled to know that I would enjoy the privilege of attending what was then known as “The Queen of High Schools” for which it was widely acclaimed.

My parents, along with my generational cohorts were raised by parents who were the product of the “Greatest Generation.” A generation who grew up during the Great Depression only to be followed by World War II.

Living through the Great Depression, only a few could afford to attend college. But it was universally believed that a good education, particularly strong college prep and ultimately college was a pathway to an elevated, enriched life. Parma was the fastest growing suburb in the country during the fifties primarily fueled by this generation buying their first home. Generally, a three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow and a single-car garage was the standard of the day. We were living large.

The fundamental values this generation embraced were heavily imbued into their children: my cohorts. Values such as hard work, personal responsibility, frugality, trustworthiness and effectively a good education. Parma Senior High School was built as a commitment and tribute to that generation and those values.

Sadly, the PCSD School Board has decided to demolish this facility with demolition already in progress.  This can be and should be stopped immediately. The board’s decision to tear down a perfectly good building at a cost of over three million taxpayer dollars and replace it with a new similar structure (to include the iconic tower) for 250 million dollars is foolhardy. This is fiscally burdensome to a school district that is already 19 million dollars in the red.

Two weeks ago, I presented to the Board, at their invitation, a contract to purchase the school. We intended to repurpose the building with the following:

  1. Repurpose the two gyms and swimming pool into a community recreation center to be enjoyed by all district residents year-round. The benefits of such a facility are enormous to the populace. To offer swimming, exercise, and connectivity to fellow neighbors provides benefits that cannot be ignored. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle and purposeful longevity are irrefutable. Within the facility, a coffee and health bar following enriching exercises would serve to foster new and enhanced personal relationships within the community.
  2. The existing little theatre could serve as the community “Parma Playhouse.” This is a common facility often found throughout America. Such a facility serves to enhance the arts and creative experience as well as public entertainment.
  3. Repurpose the building would include transforming former classrooms into condominiums. Such a repurpose has widespread precedents. The old West Tech high school was converted to lofts as have several other former schools. The even older Franklin YMCA was also converted. These are just a few examples, and they are much older structures. Parma High was built in 1953, a steel framed structure of brick and block. Additions were made in the 70’s and 80’s. This monumental structure certainly does not deserve to be demolished.

It does not make sense to demolish this building and deny the residents a facility that would only serve to significantly enhance several quality-of-life benefits for all the residents. Repurposing the building will serve to further contribute to the property tax base for the community. Additionally, the building will continue to serve as the beautiful architectural focal point of the area which it originally was.

In summary. Why is the school board spending 3 million dollars to demolish a building and then committing to financially burden the residents by building a new high school at a taxpayer cost of $250 million? An egregious cost only to serve a declining total school enrollment when the facility can be restructured to significantly enrich the quality of life for all the residents.

Call your school board members and demand the demolition be stopped and repurpose the building to the benefit and enrichment of all the district resident taxpayers.

440.885.2324

Mark Ruda, President

Ashley McTaggart, Vice President

Thank you,

Armand Grossman

PSH 1961

Armandocean7@gmail.com

Office:  561.419.0454

armand grossman

Raised in Parma. Product of the Parma Schools PSH 1961, Lifelong educator

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 8:59 AM, 03.01.2024