By Mary Kate Leming
BOYNTON BEACH — The city’s 1927 high school won a 3-2 decision in its favor, when city commissioners voted Oct. 21 to research funding or potential partnerships to rescue the old building. At the outset of the hour-long discussion, City Manager Kurt Bressner offered three options for the building, located next to the Schoolhouse Museum on Ocean Avenue: demolish it, leave it as is, or make it available to some organization like a nonprofit to fund the restoration.
Nine residents spoke on behalf of saving the building; none advocated tearing it down. Mayor Jerry Taylor, however, carried a pile of papers and binders to the dais, and spoke about his frustration with past failed efforts to rescue the decaying building. “I’ve had fifteen years of talking about it. I know I sound like a hard-core guy, but we need to keep the city running. I think we should demolish it.”
The city pays $42,000 a year to maintain the vacant building.
Voncile Smith, president of the Boynton Beach Historical Society, expressed interest in talking with the city about the possibility of leasing the building for a cultural center. Commissioner Woodrow Hay noted that no one from the public spoke to tear the building down. “In the past we have failed, but it doesn’t mean we can’t succeed.” He added, “At the end of the day, this commission has to explore every plan possible.” Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez and Commissioners Marlene Ross and Hay voted to approve the measure, asking the city manager to return to the commission with different options for possibly saving the school. Mayor Taylor and Commissioner Ron Weiland voted against the measure.