PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – Students at one local high school are fighting to save the theater and bell tower before the district demolishes the buildings.
When Parma High School is eventually demolished, the auditorium and the bell tower will go along with it.
“The bell tower has been a staple in the community. We’ve put it on all our shirts and hoodies this year,” said Quinnton Busler, a recent graduate.
Busler, a former stage crew member, created an online petition in an effort to save the entire theater section of the school, which includes the main auditorium, little theater and the bell
“Obviously it was enough of a crucial point that it was going to be the main entrance for the new school building if the levy would have passed,” said Busler.
“This is one of the biggest auditoriums around. It has 1,550 seats in it,” said stage director Shawna Melnykowski.
Melnykowski said the space is an asset to the community and could generate money for the district.
“The school system could be bringing in an income by keeping this space and renting it out,” said Melnykowski.
Superintendent Charles Smialek issued a statement to FOX 8 News on Wednesday morning:
We respect the sentiment behind the petition to preserve parts of Parma Senior High School. In fact, we also worked to acknowledge the history and character of the high school when we planned for its replacement to incorporate a red brick exterior and a clock tower that would have closely resembled the current one. Unfortunately, our residents twice rejected our ballot initiatives to fund this construction. It is simply not feasible to leave standing one section of a school without investing millions of dollars into recreating supporting infrastructure such as plumbing, electricity, and heating systems that exist in other segments of the building. We are preserving many artifacts from Parma Senior High School and look forward to continuing to honor its legacy.Parma City Schools Superintendent Charles Smialek
Both Quinnton and Melynkowski plan to present their proposal to save the auditorium and bell tower to the school board Thursday. They are asking that the community also attend.
You can sign the petition here.