Fs the bell tolling for the bpf Cen­ter?

The Ambler Gazette - - OPINION -

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

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