Former Liberty school transformed

Ribbon-cutting set March 8 for new community center

LIBERTY — The former Liberty High School building off Churchill Hubbard Road is being transformed into a community recreation center, with school district and township officials together providing programs and activities, officials said.

Liberty Local Schools Superintendent Joseph Nohra told township trustees Monday that a ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 11 a.m. March 8 for the new center, which is in the school’s former gymnasium.

After a new high school was built off Shady Road, the old building was used as a warehouse. School officials were almost ready to put the building up for sale, he said.

“We were concerned it could have ended up being a used-car lot or a light industrial warehouse, Nohra said. “We decided we needed that building to be part of Liberty Township and have it be aesthetically pleasing for the community and the residents.

“It is an historic building. We have restored the gym completely, turning it into a new youth recreational center,” Nohra said. “I think it is going to be a jewel and an asset to the township and the school district.”

He said the building has an gymnasium with eight basketball hoops.

“The gymnasiums built years ago were extra big,” he said.

Nohra said the center will be rented out for various recreational activities, mostly for children and teens, but also for adults and senior citizens. It also will provide additional practice space for school district sports teams.

“It is impressive. You will be able to do everything in there from pickleball to baseball to softball practice,” Nohra said.

The district is working in cooperation with the township, the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation, he said.

Plans are also for the United Way-funded “Success After Six” program offered at Liberty schools will be providing indoor tennis lessons for district fifth and sixth graders for four weeks in the building.

He said the school board spent less than $35,000 for updating and repairs to roofing, flooring and lighting. A grant was received through the Thomases Family Foundation to also help with any costs.

The schools will partner with the township to maintain the building and jointly plan programming for the community, he said. The school board will retain ownership.

Liberty Township trustees said they look forward to working with the schools for the center.

“It is very positive that the schools want to partner with the township for the betterment of the community with a community center,” trustee Chairwoman Jodi Stoyak said.

Stoyak said officials will meet with the schools on the center including ways to generate some revenue and to plan for the ribbon cutting event.