Page 20 - Life and Times

Basic HTML Version

By John Zavinski
dents returned to school
this month to a new en-
vironment, the new Case Av-
enue Elementary School. The
old Case Avenue building is
just a memory now.
Some school buildings are
dealt a luckier fate than Case
when the inevitable day
comes for them that school’s
out, forever.
You only need to go a few
blocks away in Sharon to see
one of the city’s earlier
school buildings alive and
well. And still in the educa-
tion business. The 1903 Cen-
tral School on Shenango Av-
enue is now a central
component in the Penn State
Shenango Campus, along
with the attached former ju-
nior high building that dates
back to the 1920s.
Central School is now
known as Lecture Hall, and
in recent years it got a top-to-
bottom makeover as part of a
multimillion-dollar campus
One of the arguments
against saving the old Case
building was that it had out-
lived its usefulness and would
be too costly to renovate. The
same argument often is used
when even 1950s-vintange
schools are closed. Yet the
Penn State building demon-
strates that there can be am-
ple useful life left in a 110-
year-old schoolhouse or any
similar building.
Getting rid of old buildings
never seemed to be a prob-
lem when there were little
one-room schoolhouses scat-
tered across the countryside.
Many stand decades later af-
ter being remodeled into
Newer, larger schools tend
to become a burden for
school districts, perhaps be-
cause of their sheer size or
unusual layout that makes
them difficult to adapt to oth-
er uses. Old churches and
John Zavinski
of Hermitage
is a deltiologist – a collector
of postcards – and local-history
buff. He is director of graphics
and technology for
newspaper and design
director for
Life & Times
magazine. Contact him at or
724-981-6100 ext. 235.
September 2013
This 1927 postcard shows what originally was Sharon High School. When it was
built in 1923 at Case Avenue and East State Street, the city of Sharon had only
recently annexed that block and neighborhood from Hickory Township. The building
was torn down in 2011, unleashing generations of fond memories in the community
because at different times during its 87 years it had housed every grade level from el-
ementary through high school. It was last called Case Avenue Elementary School.
When school bells stop tolling,
schoolhouses meet varying fates
John Zavinski/Life & Times
Sharon’s stately new Case Avenue Elementary School opened this month after two
years of construction. During that time its students were in exile down the street in
the former St. Joseph School, which itself had been closed when Catholic schools
consolidated. The footprint where the old Case building stood at the corner in the
foreground is now occupied by lawn, a sign, a playground and a driveway/entrance.