The Town Council has voted 3-2 to delay until April its decision on whether to demolish the 56-year-old former Mendon Elementary School.
Mayor Earl Doolittle broke a 2-2 tie, allowing residents wanting to save the building time to seek a buyer willing to refurbish and maintain it as a community center. The decision also gave the council time to determine how the community feels about the proposal.The building, constructed in 1935 as a WPA project, has been on the National Register for Historic Buildings since 1985.
The Cache County School Board decided in the mid-1970s that the building no longer was needed as a school and sold it to the city for $10.
Since then, it has been used as a post office, city office, justice of the peace court, gymnasium, theatrical auditorium, a dance hall, and a hall for family reunions and craft fairs. It is currently the meeting place for the Town Council and the Mendon Arts Council.
Steve Hatch, a member of the town council, said the building has served the town well, but, "now is the time to demolish it and build a new city office on the site."
Arts Council members disagreed and cited a recent study that concluded it would cost $29 per square foot to upgrade the building, while new construction would cost $70 to $90 per square foot.
Irma Moon, a member of the Arts Council, said although the building needs repair and no longer has a functioning heating system, grant money for two new furnaces is available from the Utah Energy Office.
Don Hartle, an architect with the Utah Heritage Preservation Foundation, said that with repairs, the building could last another 60 years.