GREEN When fire ripped through the Lichtenwalter Schoolhouse two summers ago, many including the city were unsure if it could be saved.
The 1885 Lichtenwalter Schoolhouse, located in Boettler Park, was struck by arson in August 2016. Five arrests were made shortly after the fire by the Summit County Sheriff.
After gathering community feedback, the city determined the best option was to rebuild the historic structure. The fire caused significant damage to the building, with only the four brick walls remaining.
During the May 1 Green Historic Perseveration meeting, the board held and approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the exterior.
Sara Johansen from Braun Steidl Architects said the building is expected to be constructed very similar to the way it was before the fire. She said there will be a modification by adding a rear door, something that wasn’t there prior to the fire. Adding the extra door will increase the number of people that can use the schoolhouse from 50 to 75 since it will have a second way to exit.
The windows are expected to have double pane glass to bring the schoolhouse up to energy standards, Johansen said. The chairs and desks won’t be mounted to the floor to allow for the space inside to be flexible.
"The city wanted it designed to make the space more usable," Johansen said.
Green Service Director Valerie Wax Carr said the city is still in the planning stages of what the schoolhouse can be used for.
The rebuilt schoolhouse will also have a restroom, something it didn’t have before. There have been some concerns raised about the lack of a restroom and Wax Carr said the idea is aimed toward elderly or people with disabilities. There are restrooms in Boettler Park just outside of the schoolhouse, which would better serve most people.
Each year, Green Locals Schools used the schoolhouse to teach third grade classes in the spring, but Wax Carr said the restroom isn’t being built to serve the school children. Jackson Local Schools have allowed Green to use its schoolhouse for the third grade classes for the past two years until Lichtenwalter can be rebuilt.
Green Historical Society Secretary Staci Schweikert said early in the process there were some concerns about the rear door and the restroom, but both were discussed. She said having the rear door is a good safety feature especially with larger class sizes, plus teachers and volunteers all inside at once.
Green Community Development Administrator Sarah Haring said the project hasn’t been bid and the city is still working on developing the total cost. The city will receive money back from insurance following the fire, which is expected to cover a large portion of the cost to rebuild it.
Construction is likely to begin in early fall and it will be completed by next spring. Haring said the goal would be to have Green Local Schools students use the schoolhouse for classes again next spring.
She is encouraging people to think of ideas of how to have a grand opening for the schoolhouse once it is completed.