NAPOLEON, OH (Toledo News Now) – Napoleon area schools will get a new elementary and middle school through some state funding, but the new plans mean losing a piece of history.
Once construction of the new school is complete, the old facility will either have to be sold or demolished. That means the John L. Johnson Auditorium could run the risk of being gone forever.
The building has been situated on Main Street since 1932. Voters approved a levy to work with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to build the new schools right next to Napoleon High School. The state money does not allow for renovations to the old facility or for an auditorium to be built at the new school.
Instead of seeing a community gem go, friends of the JLJ organization want to raise money to keep the doors open.
"Thousands and thousands and thousands of people have graced that stage, with all the little programs, elementary programs up through large-scale productions. It's got a place in everybody's heart and memory," said Ken Neuenschwander.
The organization said it needs to raise $3.1 million in the next three years to renovate the auditorium and turn it into what they will call the Napoleon Civic Center. It hopes to also make the building available for other uses, such as office and meeting space for the community.
Donations and pledges can be made at the Henry County Bank located at 122 W. Washington Street in Napoleon.
Learn more at Napoleon Civic Center.
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