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Old Building Could Be History

April 15, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

A historic building on the grounds of Villa Park Elementary School may have to be torn down.

The wooden structure was built in 1883 when the school was Mountain View School, and then renamed Villa Park Elementary School in 1910.

"Architecturally, we have an outstanding building here," said assistant Supt. David Perry. A bell tower was of particular historical interest and could be saved no matter what happened to the rest of the structure, he added.

But despite the columns and other distinctive features on the exterior of the building, the interior is a mess, Perry said. The ceiling is falling, the paint is peeling and the building is generally deteriorating.

Options for dealing with the site include building a wooden fence around it for safety reasons, which would cost about $7,000. Renovating it would cost from $600,000 to $900,000, Perry said.

Orange Unified School District trustees said they wanted to hear from members of the community before discussing the options.

One parent, Mara McMurtrey, said that the lives of current students should take precedence.

"A lot of us feel the building is unsightly and unsafe," she told trustees last week. "We do need the space. We feel our children's education and safety is more important than a crumbling old building."

Trustees said they would schedule opportunities for all views to be heard in the coming weeks.

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