The Red Brick's memories live on
The Red Brick Building, a century-old schoolhouse that was considered a landmark of the old Dover Village, was torn down over a period of five days, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27. This building had been vacant since 2003, and after plans fizzled to transform the building into something useful for the community, the city decided to raze the school. Many residents have negative opinions regarding the tearing down of a local landmark.
“The building holds many memories for a great deal of community members, as well as historical significance for Westlake and the region," said Kim Bonvissuto, Communications Coordinator for the Westlake Schools. "At the same time, you have a segment of the community looking toward the future and the opening of our new middle and high schools [that] sees the Red Brick’s demolition as a necessary step to move forward.”
In 2006, Westlake resident Heather Drago developed the perfect use for the Red Brick Building. She planned to renovate the historic building, and convert it into a center for the arts. The building was an ideal size, and Westlake previously had nothing like it. But the three million dollars that the renovation would cost was never raised, and seeing how the economy had turned, it most likely would not be funded anytime in the near future. Because of this, the city had decided to tear it down.
The Red Brick Building was built in 1909 as a high school for the residents of Dover Village, presently Westlake and Bay Village. This building was the first school in the area, and was built on the exact center point of Dover. In 1923, the school became a grade school, and a new high school was built on the site where LBMS currently resides. In 1968, the schoolhouse became Westlake’s Board of Education, and remained so until 2003. Since then, the building has been unoccupied.
The Red Brick Building may be gone, but the memories will remain forever. The new high school is planning to incorporate the “Public School” stone that used to hang over the door of the Red Brick into the construction of the new building.
The city also offered a brick to every resident who requested one through the schools' website at www.wlake.org.
“I think that people are nostalgic about the past, but also looking toward the future,” said WHS Principal Mr. Freeman.