Rachel Hill Elementary School

Richland school board will demolish the Rachel Hill Elementary School – shown here on Monday, June 26, 2017 – on Theatre Drive. 

The longtime Rachel Hill Elementary School’s days are apparently numbered.

Richland school board members informed Superintendent Arnold Nadonley to begin taking steps toward having the vacant school demolished – by winter, if possible.

“We explored options for saving it. We met with Realtors and we gave people tours over the years and there was just no interest,” board President Kathy Glattke said. “It’s an eyesore and it’s time to say goodbye.”

Nadonley said several board members stressed they’d like to see the former school leveled as soon as possible.

But several steps will need to occur before that can happen.

Nadonley said he will approach Pittsburgh-based HHSDR Architects and Engineers to get estimates on what the school’s demolition might cost and begin working on a time line to get the undertaking to that point.

The school, which hasn’t been used for classes for well over a decade, has floor and ceiling tiles that contain asbestos, so those materials would have to be removed and properly disposed of before the building itself could be demolished, Nadonley has noted.

“I know this has been on some of your radars for many years,” Nadonley told the board. “It’s time to move forward.”

School officials have not yet decided what to do with the Theatre Drive land it currently occupies.

Glattke said it’s possible the district could use the land to improve access to the district’s current elementary school, which sits on the same site but further up the hill.

Board members have also discussed the need for a dedicated maintenance facility, but Glattke said the Rachel Hill property doesn’t appear to be the answer.

“It just doesn’t make sense to have that obstacle there. It’s not safe,” she said.

Rachel Hill reminders

The Richland School District Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising group formed to support Richland school students and academic needs, has already taken steps to create a commemorative keepsake of the school.

The Cat’s Meow company of Wooster, Ohio, made small wooden replicas of Rachel Hill School that the foundation is selling for $21 apiece.

The proceeds benefit scholarships and other endeavors the foundation supports.

For more information, visit Richland School District’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rsdfoundation.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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