The old Valley Road School building in Princeton. Andrew Miller / For The Times
The discussion over what to do with the old building has been a long and often contentious debate between residents and Princeton town and school officials. The original portion of the building was constructed in 1918 in Gothic style to reflect the buildings on the Princeton University campus. The school became the first in Princeton to see black and white children brought together to study under the same roof.
The school is prized by many for its architecture, its airy spaces and large windows, but school officials have said it needs substantial renovations and that no viable proposals for saving it have been offered. Its use as a school ended decades ago, and it was converted to office space.
Community activists have long proposed renovating and reusing the building as a community center to be shared by nonprofits, but the board’s decision to move forward with possibly demolishing it places those options out of reach, they said.
“Quite honestly, I don’t understand the necessity at this moment for this action,” said John Clearwater, an advocate of reusing the school, at the meeting. “This resolution is open-ended, but specifically crafted to take a number of options off the table.”