The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

January 18, 2013

LEVINE: Tour reveals potential in Roosevelt Building

CLINTON — It didn’t take long for Gary Herrity to formulate an opinion Monday on the Roosevelt Building.

“It’s still in good shape and can be easily remodeled,” said Herrity, one of the members of the city’s historic preservation committee that toured the building Monday.

Many of the group members on Monday still lamented the fact the Clinton School District’s administration moved out to the former Harding Elementary School this past fall. But that story has been covered at length in the pages of the Clinton Herald.

This tour provided a glimpse into what’s possible with a building that’s more than 100 years old.

The historical significance of the Roosevelt Building also has been well documented through years of research by the very people that accompanied me on the tour.

When the Roosevelt Building was built in 1888, it was known as one of “the finest high schools anywhere.” Probably the most significant part of the structure is its Romanesque style, giving it a unique look compared to the many newer buildings that don’t have a particular style.

And the building’s image fits into the overall motif of surrounding structures.

The interior is still intact, and without any of the modern amenities that the administration center used to carry, it’s like stepping into the past when walking inside, including the chill that permeates the un-heated building.

Many of the people who toured the facility, including Jan Hansen, Mike Kearney, Herrity, John Rowland, Robert Betsinger, Carol Gilbert, Bill Foster and Clinton schools representative Gregg Cornilson, discussed what would need to be done to the building to make it viable for another owner.

The electrical work would have to be redone, the ceilings should likely be heightened and the outside would need some shining.

Being handicapped accessible was a major factor why the school district moved away, and that also would have to be addressed.

Overall, though, there’s potential in the building.

Viewing the structure from the outside doesn’t do the building justice. Once inside, it’s massive. There’s so much area to work with and the turrets create a nice picture in the attic.

A photo forwarded to me from Kearney shows the staircase from when it was built. When comparing that to a photo of the staircase from Monday, it would be almost impossible to tell the difference if it wasn’t for the difference of color in photography.

The building has character, and if the past week is any indication, that creates hope for the building’s future.

Plans to renovate the Wilson Building and the former Patrick’s Steakhouse are building blocks to revitalizing downtown.

And those entities were picked up by private entities, something the preservation group hoped would happen in the future for the Roosevelt Building.

Clinton Superintendent Deb Olson said so far no one has come forward with a real offer to utilize the building.

“What we’re looking for is a basic business plan that would benefit our community,” Olson said.

The district has only had an inquiry about reclaiming some wood, which isn’t a viable option for the district, Olson said.

I agree. This building should be put to good use, and it doesn’t appear the district would need a fortune to part ways.

And developers would reap the benefits of historic tax credits, which could pay for 45 percent of the rehabilitation, Kearney said. The building is on the National Historic Register.

It only takes one inquiry to turn around the fortunes of the Roosevelt Building. And the way 2013 is going for historic buildings, who knows what will be in store for the once “finest high school around,” in downtown Clinton.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

  • UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria

    The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, causing deaths and injuries.

    Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the current council president, said the allegations were raised during a closed-door council meeting following a briefing Wednesday by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

    Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. It is a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors that see the shrine as distinct from other Shinto-style establishments mainly honoring gods of nature. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

    April 23, 2014

  • Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

    An Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday to living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

    The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

    April 23, 2014

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    To help veterans leaving the military as it downsizes, the government on Wednesday started a one-stop job-shopping website for them to create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database for companies to mine.

    April 23, 2014

  • Schultz deputy lost duties, kept pay

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is running for Congress as a budget-cutting conservative, allowed his top aide to keep collecting a $126,000 annual salary for months after deciding to eliminate his job, The Associated Press has learned.

    Schultz decided in May 2012 to cut the office's chief deputy position held for 17 months by Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach and Republican congressional candidate, under a restructuring that ultimately saved money. But rather than dismiss Gibbons quickly as he did to four career workers laid off that summer, Schultz took unusual steps that kept his political appointee on the payroll through the end of the year.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video