Decision on Historic School’s Fate Delayed

Trustees of Orange Unified School District have given a newly formed group of historical preservationists six months to find a way to save the old Villa Park Elementary School.

Trustee Linda Davis said the district owes residents that much for letting the three 1918 structures, which have been long abandoned, become badly run-down.

“It appears that a lot of the damage is due to a lack of maintenance,” she told her school board colleagues Thursday. “A committee has been formed, and they are researching funding possibilities. I would like to give them that opportunity.”

The board agreed to postpone any action on the issue for six months, though they approved hiring a structural engineer to evaluate the buildings. The budget for the inspection was capped at $19,000.


The fate of the old school came up last month, when administrators said they wanted to demolish the complex of three buildings because it was unsafe and they needed the space for a growing student body. The buildings sit in the middle of the modern Villa Park Elementary School campus.

Restoring the elaborate buildings would cost up to $1.2 million, Supt. Robert L. French said.

A movement quickly began to save the school, which Villa Park Councilwoman Patricia L. Bortle said contians the oldest public building in the city.

A group called the Villa Park Restoration Committee is now seeking funds for the school.