Dover Schools to raze former administrative office

Dover Schools to raze former administrative office

Image Credit: Kyle Valentini

After months of research, work and conversation with several local organizations, the Dover Board of Education made the decision to raze the former administration building at 219 W. Sixth St.

“We’ve known since the initial construction plans came to life that, once we moved our administrative offices into the renovated 1962 wing of DHS, we would no longer need the building on West Sixth Street,” Superintendent Karie McCrate said. “However, the decision on the future of the building was not one we made lightly but after months of research where significant risk and liability issues immediately surfaced with moving a property of this size, condition and age.”

In addition to soliciting feedback and engagement with the City of Dover Architectural Review Board, school leaders met several times and went through the property with Jim Gill, director of the Dover Public Library, and Shelagh Pruni, director of the Reeves Museum owned by the Dover Historical Society, who both decided they did not have the ability to move the home at this time.

In discussion last evening, the board recognized the home had historical interest to the community in that it was lived in for several years by Samuel Reeves before his death and the family relocated to the home his father, Jeremiah Reeves, built for his widow and children on East Iron Avenue.

Russ Volkert, Dover’s fire chief who serves as the chair of the city’s architectural review board, said he appreciated the efforts of McCrate in reaching out to the library and the Reeves Museum and extending time and attention to afford either of them the opportunity to acquire the structure for their use.

This decision comes after research and collaboration with these stakeholder organizations.

“We have worked to be transparent and consider all options with this property. I am thankful to our district leadership for taking time and giving it the respect it deserved. Engaging our community stakeholders matters to us,” said Michael Studer, board president. “At the end of the day, we need to make the decision that makes the most sense for our vision as a school district and community, which entrusts us to be legally and financially responsible with the resources provided by them to our schools.”

“Given the decision this evening that the best option for the district is to raze the property, we will work to continue to share the story of this home and make efforts to preserve parts of it to local historical organizations or possibly even citizens if it is both timely and fiscally responsible for the district and its residents,” McCrate said. “We owe that to our community and will do our very best toward this end.”