HUBBARD — Plans to remodel and renovate the former Roosevelt School into a community wellness center are moving forward as the group raising funds for the project has received numerous donations — including from a local foundation honoring a man who was murdered.
Jim Chaney, chairman of the Hubbard Youth Coalition, said in recent weeks several monetary donations have been received to help get the $240,000 four-phase project moving forward.
He said Phil and Mary Catherine Mazi with Handyman Hardware and Hubbard Auto Bath each made a $10,000 donation.
The Cody Pitts Memorial Foundation contributed $10,000 this year and will contribute $5,000 in 2023 and $5,000 in 2024.
Representatives of the Cody Pitts Memorial Foundation met recently with the HYC. Chaney said the Cody Pitts Foundation also has agreed to join the coalition in co-sponsoring two fundraising events in March 2023 and March 2024.
”It has been amazing the feedback we have been receiving and the support from the community. Different businesses and organizations have contacted us wanting to give back to the community,” Chaney said.
Sam Bellino with the Cody Pitts Foundation said the foundation was established by friends of Pitts who wanted to give back to the community in Pitts’ name.
”Most importantly we are trying to raise awareness and recognition of his name and story in an attempt to put enough pressure on someone to speak up about the night Cody was killed. We don’t want the conversation to ever stop,” he said.
Police are continuing to investigate the March 2015 death of 26-year-old Cody Pitts, who was killed on Orchard Avenue near North Main Street. His body was nearly hit by a passing female motorist who called 911 about 3:30 a.m.
According to initial police reports, Pitts was last seen at 2:35 a.m. March 7, 2015, walking from the Downtown Coffee Cafe on North Main Street. He had spent a few hours with friends and may have been the last patron to leave, police said.
Then-Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, who died in 2018, said Pitts died of a gunshot wound to the head and neck.
The case is still active and police said previously ythey are missing crucial pieces of information that would solve the case.
Tipsters, anonymous or not, can reach Crime Stoppers at 330-746-CLUE. The reward for information is $20,000.
Pitts’ friends and family continue to remember him and they even come together on a Saturday near the anniversary of his murder for what they call a “pity day.” They all get together to reminisce and share memories and inside jokes that they had with Pitts.
COMMUNITY CENTER PLANS
Bellino said they are glad to team up with the HYC and are committed to helping them in different ways with the project. Chaney said plans are to break ground for the project in April.
He said the first and second phases of the project will be done in 2023. The first phase costs $65,000.
”Phase one is already covered. We are working on getting the second phase covered, which is moving forward. We have been meeting with the coaches and athletic director to discuss the best use of space at the building,” Chaney said.
He said architectural blueprints are also being worked on.
The HYC is planning a community and student wellness center for people of all ages that will be used by sports teams and the general public.
Chaney said talks have been ongoing for 18 months, including receiving approval from the Hubbard Board of Education and school administration to proceed with plans for remodeling and renovating the former school.
Chaney said a small board made up of representatives from various youth sports and community members will work in conjunction with the school district’s athletic department to oversee the center.
Plans are to retain the original design of the historic building with its pictures on the wall. The original part of the school is from the 1920s and additions were made in the 1930s.
Roosevelt school was last used as a kindergarten-to-fourth-grade building in the 2011-12 school year before a new school was constructed near the high school.
The first phase of the project involves turning the balconies into platforms for batting cages, adding turf to indoor areas for multiple sports and creating a parent viewing area room.
The second phase focuses on creating a multifunctional training area with free weights on the first floor. The third phase will make a multipurpose room on the second floor and phase four will create the building’s lobby.
Chaney said the goal is to get the first two phases completed in spring 2023 and, based on fundraising, move on to the next phases to finish the project by 2024.
Jay Crafton, a Hubbard resident with BSHM Architects, which specializes in designing athletic, sports and school facilities, is donating 100 percent of the costs for the architectural drawings.
The former school will be used not only for sports but also robotics and other organizations and groups from the school and community. Some of the rooms will be able to be used for meetings by clubs.
The three- to five-member management board would be in charge of staffing and cleaning the building.
Plans call for a major gala fundraiser in February to provide the money needed for the first two phases of the project. Coalition members expect the gala to raise $30,000 to $35,000.
Tickets are on sale for a fundraiser gala planned for Feb. 11 at the Avalon Inn and Resort in Howland at eventsbrite.com. For information visit www.hubbardyouth.org, or [email protected] or 330-518-6185.