GREEN There is renewed hope for the one-room Lichtenwalter Schoolhouse, which was destroyed Aug. 9 when a group of vandals busted out windows and set the structure on fire.
Only a portion of the brick frame remains following the arson, but the city is hopeful to rebuilt the school to its historical significance. The schoolhouse, built in 1885, served as an educational trip for Green Schools third grade classes. Those classes were moved to Jackson Township's one-room schoolhosue this year.
To help determine the direction to move with the schoolhouse following the fire, the city posted a survey online to gather feedback in which 932 results were gathered. Green Communications Coordinator Valerie Wolford said the purpose of the survey, which was open for four days was to gather a pulse of the community.
The majority of those who responded asked for the schoolhouse to be rebuilt.
City officials formed a committee consisting of administration, a historical society member and community members. Green Community Development Administrator Sarah Haring said committee agreed to rebuild the structure, but with a more flexible use.
Haring said on average the schoolhouse was only used about 17 days per year, but it also was a popular place for people to visit.
"It is a really popular place for photography," Haring said.
Haring said the building's historical aspectes limited what it could be used for. Recommendations by the committee are for it to have a restroom, better lighting inside and out and allow for the basement space to be used by the Green Historical Society for achives.
"There are lots of ways to restore a historic building," Haring said. "We want to be sensitive to restoring its historic character, but we also want to be sensitive to the budget."
The schoolhouse is a local landmark, which means any changes to the exterior will have to go before the city’s historic preservation board.
"At this time, we are still working with the insurance company to negotiate the final claim amount," Wolford said. "The cost to rebuild has not been determined, but will be as part of the next steps in hiring an architect to develop design and construction documents."
Four people - 19-year-old Matthew R. Swan, 18-year-old Brandyn McCroskey and two juveniles - pleaded guilty in December for their roles in starting the blaze.