Century Old Columbus School Closes

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After more than a century an East side Columbus public school shut its doors for good Thursday afternoon. Fair Avenue Alternative is one of 9 schools closing this year within the Columbus City Schools to save money and keep a levy promise.

The architecture of Fair Avenue Alternative shows that this school is from another time in Columbus history. The building opened for students in 1890 and looks like a small castle. Out of the 9 elementary and middle schools closing within the Columbus Public Schools this year, Fair Alternative is the oldest. This year 250 students attended school there. One of them was 6 year old Christianna Leight.

“Did you do a lot of artwork in there? Yes. Like what. We paint and stuff and we make eggs and faces,” Leight said.

Her grandmother Deborah Leight says the school’s long history touches many people.

“It’s been a school for so long and there are so many memories here for so many people in this city. We are newer to the city and we are newer to the school system, but there are so many people that really have a history with this building and school here and I think it’s a shame that it’s closing,” Leight said.

Six year old Aryena Russell didn’t want the school year to end.

“What are you going to miss? The teachers. Yea. Do you like the building? Uh huh. What do you like about it? It looks like a castle. Really. Do you think a princess once lived there? Yea,” said Russell.

Russell’s mother Nichole is not looking forward to a new school.

“I’m just sad that it’s closing. It’s a really good school. It’s got nice teachers and principals in there. I’m just disappointed that it’s going away,”Russell said.

Fair Avenue Alternative and 8 other schools closing were targeted because of falling enrollment, lower academic achievement, and easy access to nearby schools. Some teachers inside Fair spent the last day in the classroom packing boxes and stacking them, ready to move to a different school. George Cooley who lives across the street sent his 3 daughters to Fair Avenue Alternative 20 years ago. He hopes the building is used again.

“I hope they do something for the community, so it’ll be still used for something purposeful,” said Cooley.

Parent of 2 students, Felisa Smith wonders where her children will go next year for the same arts curriculum.

“They loved it, I loved it. So now, I’m kind of just starting from scratch especially with my third grader,” Smith said.

While parents are frustrated school officials say they are making good on a levy promise to save the district millions of dollars while maintaining school standards.