Officials tour areas to be preserved

The extra money will help
offset other costs for the restoration of the auditorium.



WARREN — Board of education members and other local officials walked through parts of Warren G. Harding that will be preserved after the demolition of the building next year.

Linda Metzendorf, board member and chairwoman of the historic preservation committee, said it is important to save part of Harding because it is one of the city’s historical buildings.

“Once you lose a building like this, you can’t recapture it,” she said.

The cost to restore the building’s auditorium and a few rooms is estimated at $1 million. It includes exterior walls, roofing, electric and plumbing along with other construction costs.

John DeFrance, architect working on the project, led board members through the first, second and third floors showing what parts of the building will remain after demolition. The remaining auditorium building will retain 43,510 square feet.

A sidewalk will be made to connect the auditorium to the new high school to make it more of a campus atmosphere, Metzendorf said.

DeFrance said there is little proposed renovation, but a lot of necessary safety items will be added to bring the building up to code. For example, a handicap accessible ramp will be installed.

Superintendent Kathryn Hellweg said the third floor mainly will be used for storage to prevent many people from going up the stairs.

DeFrance said the original wood windows from 1925 will remain.

DeFrance said budgeted in the $1 million estimate is money for a new roof but after inspecting further, he said the whole roof does not need to be replaced and that money will offset the costs to pay for any leaks.

The building does have asbestos, but he said he did not know exactly how much and will inform the board later.

Metzendorf said in 2003, Warren residents passed the levy for the $1 million for historic preservation, and the board chose Harding’s auditorium to be preserved.

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