Thousands sign petition to save Parma Senior High School’s auditorium from being demolished

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:04 PM EDT
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PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - Thousands have signed a petition to save Parma Senior High School’s auditorium and bell tower from the wrecking ball.

The high school is closing for good this Friday to cut costs for the school district.

Demolition will begin soon after.

The auditorium is a special place for many former students, like Quinnton Busler, who have been a part of productions on that stage.

“Having the lights all lit, have everything running it was great,” Busler said. “It’s one of those important things to me that’s like I got to be a part of that.”

The school’s stage director, Shawna Melnykowski, hopes they can save the auditorium that seats more than 1,500 before it’s too late.

“Postpone and reconsider tearing down the school and if not the entire school, at least try to save the theater portion,” Melnykowski said.

Busler said the auditorium can serve as a community theater to help raise money for the district.

“I figured that it is important enough to the community we might as well try and save it,” Busler said. “It’s got so much history.”

Response from superintendent Charles Smialek:

“We respect the sentiment behind the petition to preserve parts of Parma Senior High School. In fact, we also worked to acknowledge the history and character of the high school when we planned for its replacement to incorporate a red brick exterior and a clock tower that would have closely resembled the current one. Unfortunately, our residents twice rejected our ballot initiatives to fund this construction. It is simply not feasible to leave standing one section of a school without investing millions of dollars into recreating supporting infrastructure such as plumbing, electricity, and heating systems that exist in other segments of the building. We are preserving many artifacts from Parma Senior High School and look forward to continuing to honor its legacy.”