YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The former South High School building has been bought by the non-profit Youngstown Jubilee Urban Development. What is this organization and what does it do? What are the plans for South High School?
Eric Holm and Pastor Phil Imler are behind Youngstown Jubilee. They were able to answer our questions.
“It was at a level of craftsmanship that we’re probably not going to see anymore,” Holm said.
The floor of the main entrance is terrazzo, the pillars are covered in marble and the office doors are wood. The 800-seat auditorium remains intact and its textured ceiling just needs paint. But there is a need for another elevator and they’re not sure if the boiler works.
“There are going to be some high-ticket items to cover but fortunately, the roof, the structure of this building are rock solid,” Holm said.
“One thing after another, it began to evolve,” Pastor Imler said.
Pastor Imler founded Youngstown Jubilee in 1990. It started with rehabilitating and building new homes.
“Up to that point, we had rehabbed 25 existing homes here on the lower South Side. Then, we built 165 new homes,” Pastor Imler said.
But it wasn’t until Holm was hired as executive director did they decide to buy South High, to which Pastor Imler said, “Amen.”
They paid $500,000 for South High, thanks to a couple of donors. They’ve also talked with prospective tenants.
“The tenants would probably, would be either in workforce development, career tech or education,” Holm said.
South High’s exterior was built with ornate architecture. When it opened in 1911, its grandeur made it the centerpiece of the neighborhood, and it’s hoped that can be done again.
“Our hope is this puts some lift in people’s step to see this school that just sat vacant for a number of years be brought back into productive use again,” Holm said.
Youngstown Jubilee has already started marketing South High. Pamphlets have been printed in an effort to get tenants to sign up to move in.