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Cranberry officials seek options to save Johnston School building

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By Matthew Defusco
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Cranberry officials are welcoming suggestions for using the township's one-room Johnston School building, built in 1851 on Mars-Crider Road.

It was last used as a residence, but more recently, “some folks have decided to use it as a dumping ground,” said John Trant Jr., chief strategy officer of the township's planning committee. “It's a very old building that has been in disrepair for some time.”

A similarly styled building, the Sample School Building outside of the Municipal Center on Rochester Road, was restored to show how a one-room school operated in the 1800s. It is available to be toured from May to September and is also rented for special occasions, according to the township's website.

Doing the same work for Johnston School would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Trant said. “With the amount of investment it would take, it just doesn't seem feasible.”

Roy Warner, president of the Cranberry Township Historical Society, hopes that suggestions will be made that could save the building.

“We don't want to see it go,” he said. “We just don't have use for it or a plan for it that makes sense.”

Wagner said that there historical society and township officials have been continuing talks about the building but no solution has been provided.

Township officials met with Wagner at the building recently to take another survey of its condition.

“The floor had sunk a couple of inches,” Wagner said. He also said that the building is a target for vandals between it is so close to the road that people driving by can throw rocks at the windows.

“Security is a problem,” Wagner said.

The windows consequently have been boarded up.

Cranberry officials have not given the historical society a time limit by which to make a decision about the building's use, but Wagner said unless some plan is devised soon, the building could be torn down.

“I don't know how long they'll wait, but I don't imagine it will be too long.”

“As every day passes the roof gets leakier and the floor sags more,” Trant said, adding that publicizing the cause to save the building is one last attempt to “find a good solution.”

Matthew DeFusco is a writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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