By Kevin Kelley
A century-old Westlake landmark is now only a memory.
Workers from Ace Demolition of Cleveland last week used heavy equipment, including an excavator to take down the red brick schoolhouse on Dover Center Road.
While workers have been preparing to take down the 101-year-old building for several weeks, the real demolition began Wednesday morning. Work had been delayed about a day when some equipment used in the demolition was late in arriving.
The last walls of the structure fell late Friday afternoon.
The demolition is part of the Westlake City Schools’ redevelopment of its Dover Center Road property. Lee Burneson Middle School will be renovated as an intermediate school. A new middle school will also be built on the site as part of the $84-millon capital improvement measure voters approved in May.
Ace Demolition was paid $77,910 to take down the building. A separate company did $68,000 worth of environmental abatement work at the site. The costs were paid for out of the district’s capital projects fund.
For four years, local residents had sought to raise $3 million to restore the century-old building. The group, the Red Brick Center For the Arts, sought to use the structure as a base for a regional arts group. But the economy soured before fundraising efforts got off the ground.
The red brick housed students up through 1968 when the school district made the building its headquarters. The building has been unoccupied since 2003.
The school district is offering bricks from the building to community members interested in a keepsake of the historic building. Five-hundred bricks have been cleaned and are being reserved for distribution.
Anyone desiring a brick should call district Communications Coordinator Kim Bonvissuto at (440) 250-1258 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers are asked to leave their names and telephone numbers or e-mail addresses at which they can be reached. At present, the policy is one brick per person.
CORRECTION: A Nov. 17 article on the red brick schoolhouse demolition incorrectly stated the demolition was paid for the $84-million capital project measure voters improved in July. The demolition is being paid for out of the district’s capital projects fund, district officials said.