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Razed school parts rise in new church
Razed school parts rise in new church
By SUE HOFFMAN
The old Bainbridge School, which was razed last summer, will live on to some degree in the former Auburn School.
New Hope Christian Fellowship Church, which purchased the Auburn School at auction last March for $80,000, is using many materials from Bainbridge School in its renovation.
Bainbridge School, built in 1952, had undergone renovations when it was converted to the Kenston Early Learning Center in 1994, and many materials were relatively new, according to the Rev. Ronald Miller, pastor of New Hope Church.
"We took everything but the brick," Rev. Miller said, referring to stacks of lighting fixtures and ceiling tiles. "It's a win-win. This would have been in a landfill." He said the church paid $1,250 for the building materials, using proceeds from concession sales at baseball games on fields adjoining the church property.
The Rev. Miller, of Auburn, said the wrecking company, ACE Demo Inc., had already sold what it wanted for salvage prior to the church's purchase of remaining usable materials. "We negotiated a low price for the lighting, doors and other materials," he said.
Stacked on the first floor and ready to be reinstalled in the church at Washington Street and Auburn Road are 16 rolls of carpeting, dozens of fluorescent lighting ballasts, ceiling panels, bathroom partitions, cabinets, window blinds, doors and classroom white boards. "It puts us a couple of years ahead in remodeling the building," the Rev. Miller said.
He said the early learning center renovation had included the replacement of lockers with cabinets. The church will use the same cabinets to replace lockers on the building's second floor.
"We're excited we can recycle all of this within the community," the Rev. Miller's wife, Chris, said.
Congregant James Wheeler, of Hiram, said he, the Millers and other church members involved in the renovation worked hard to save what they could from Bainbridge School. "We worked two weeks, night and day, tearing out and hauling. They were setting up cranes when we were finishing up."
"We cut fireproof doors from the early learning center out of the walls," the Rev. Miller said. "They are new, high end and quality. The multicolored carpeting is perfect for our classrooms. It is of such good quality and shape."
He said, "We had planned on replacing the lighting. This not only updates it. It makes it much safer."
It helped tremendously that Bainbridge School was very similar in structure to Auburn School, which was built in 1941, the Rev. Miller said. It was much larger, he said, but classroom partitions and doors from Bainbridge School fit in perfectly at the former Auburn School.
Aside from using the recycled materials, many other renovations are taking place in the church's new home. The Rev. Miller, who has a background in construction, and skilled congregants are doing most of the renovations themselves.
Eight-foot-high, insulated, arched windows and rounded steps to the pulpit in the sanctuary are among the improvements New Hope Christian Fellowship Church has made to the former school. The sanctuary, located where the gymnasium and cafeteria had been, will have new drywall over the cement block, a new ceiling and new carpeting.
The front foyer has been expanded and will be renewed with drywall, a tile floor and a new coffee bar. The building has new high-efficiency gas furnaces, air conditioning and electrical equipment.
The sanctuary and first floor have been made handicapped accessible, the Rev. Miller said. Right off the sanctuary is a chair lift and handicapped and family bathroom.
On the first floor, the old office is being converted into a toddler play area with a Noah's ark theme, which can be viewed by parents through a glass window. Also in the works are a renovated office, fellowship hall, kitchen, classrooms, teen and junior youth group rooms and nursery. One of the school's larger classrooms is being partitioned.
The Rev. Miller said the renovation involves bringing up the building to code, including the fire-suppression system.
Renovation is a group effort, he said. "We have an electrician, plumber, painter and general contractor right in the congregation. We have talent and skills."
Besides himself, Mrs. Miller and their son, Tyler, regular helpers include the board members, their families and others from the church. Board members include Mr. Wheeler, Michael Engle, of Burton, Jack Richardson, of Burton, and Nancy Shefchuk, of Middlefield.
"Saturdays are work days for the whole congregation," Mrs. Miller said. "There's something for everyone. We have ladies in their 70s and 80s washing windows and painting, and kids are the 'go-fers.'"
Everyone's working hard to get the project done, the Rev. Miller said.
In the meantime, the church is making available old desk-chair units from Auburn School and a Schumann 1903 upright piano for free to the community. Interested takers are invited to the school Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon.
"We're also interested in collecting any Auburn School memorabilia to display in our front hallway," Mrs. Miller said. The display will feature the history of the school, including a hand-written menu from its early years.
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