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Coultrap to face wrecking ball

GENEVA – After hearing a few more pleas to spare Coultrap, the Geneva School District 304 board Monday voted unanimously to demolish the 90-year-old former elementary school and seek bids.

Officials said if residents came up with a plan to save the building in the next three months, they would listen.

School officials had struggled with the fate of Coultrap since summer because the building would cost more to repair than tear down. It was closed as an attendance center in 2009 but is used for board meetings.

Renovation and repair estimates were $2.3 million to $4.3 million as opposed to razing the building at a cost of $862,000. It costs $69,000 a year to operate the building minimally.

A forum presentation two weeks ago indicated that keeping Coultrap for any purpose –  even relocating the central office from Fourth Street  – would be too expensive to justify.

Officials said they would not sell the property because the high school is landlocked and the area might be necessary for future expansion, officials said.

Geneva History Center Executive Director Terry Emma, who went to Coultrap and whose three daughters also attended, said the original plan was to move the district’s central office to Coultrap, but the situation changed and it is not financially feasible.

“You said things change,” Emma said. “Things can change back again … Please give us more time. I’m asking you.”

But board President Mark Grosso said a delay will not change anything.

“I, for one, when I weigh the negatives and positives of this facility, there were more negatives than positives,” Grosso said.

To Givens’ suggestion that the district knock down the add-ons to Coultrap and save the original, board member Kelly Nowak said it has too many structural deficiencies for that.

“I have to concur this building has to come down,” Nowak said.

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