The city of Cleveland is ready to fast track a project that would revitalize the old Oak Springs School building in Cleveland. When completed, the building would initially provide a new home for the city’s police department and later be used as a community center and museum.
The city council in a called meeting Thursday morning heard a report from contractor Ron Cantrell and architect George Hlavenka about the possibilities for the building that has been vacant for several years.
Prior to integration, the school on Campbell Street was one of three in White County used for the education of black students.
Cleveland Mayor Shan Ash said there are several avenues to explore for both the short and the long term.
"Right now, we are looking at moving our police and maybe our annex over there," Ash said. "It’s all in discussion right now. We’re moving forward with it and I’m excited about getting something going as far as some facilities for the city.”
Ash said whatever the city does, they want to make sure to preserve the historical importance of the facility.
Cantrell said after inspecting the building he sees some great possibilities for the 4,000 square foot facility.
"The building has very good bones - as it is called in the industry. It’s very open to do most anything you want to do because it’s a post and beam construction, which means none of the interior walls are load bearing. It appears the building is very good and it’s kind of an open slate for the commissioners and all the stakeholders to decide what is best for the future use, Cantrell said.
Councilman Bradley Greene said he would like to see them move aggressively with the project.
Both Ash and Cantrell agree the project could get underway in the very near future.