Fs the bell tolling for the bpf Center?
qo the bditor:
Beckoning children to the bast Oreland School, the bell housed in its quaint cupola began ringing in 1909. Some of the school’s alumni still reside in the neighborhood, and at least one, Charles “Rocky” mistilli, remembers ringing it while a student at the school. ee and an increasing number of his neighbors have organized an effort to save the bell, cu- pola and the school from the wrecking ball.
qhe rpper aublin commissioners have been entertaining the idea of demolishing the structure, turning the 1.25-acre property into a neighborhood park. While the local residents are enthused about an updated park and would prefer open space to development, 83 percent of the bast Oreland neighbors have indicated they want the oldest portions of the school building preserved.
When the property was turned over to the township in 1978, it became known as the bmf Center and has served a variety of community functions including a senior center, voting station and a variety of cultural and recreational purposes for adults and children. Other than the school, there is no community focal point in bast Oreland.
7KH YHUy fiUVW UHFRPPHQdation of the Montgomery County mlanning Commission’s 1978 School Facilities mlan states, “All closed public schools should be kept in the public domain unless there are unusual and justifiDEOH UHDVRQV IRU QRW GRLQJ so. Closed schools located in residential areas can be reused as playgrounds, or as recreation and community centers.”
qhe fate of the bast Oreland School may be deter- mined at the rpper aublin commissioners’ Oct. 9 meeting. Renovations are needed if the school is to be preserved, but a new estimate from a professional engineer demonstrates the work can be done for less than A1 million — and that can come from open space funds available to the township. ff you’d like the township to save this historic school and community center, please send an email of support to orelandepicenter@gmail. com.
May the school bell ring for preservation rather than toll its demise. ooger aorris bast Oreland