Litchfield Park citizens fight gym's demolition

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ - The proposed demolition of an elementary school gym in the west Valley is sparking a battle between a west Valley school district and citizens who are calling the gym a historical landmark.

When the Litchfield Park School District announced that its old gym would be torn down, the news was met with sadness but very little opposition. 

After all, this was part of an eight-and-a-half million dollar expansion.

"They told us it wasn't worth saving," said Margaret Baker, a Litchfield Park resident who doesn't want to see the gym torn down.

Baker said the 84-year-old building is a historic treasure, and should not be torn down. 

She said the gym should stay because the new gym won't even be built on the same patch of land.

"They're tearing down the auditorium in the middle and putting the new gym over there," explains Baker. "Where this gym is, they're putting classrooms."

Baker wants to know why the new gym and old gym can't coexist. She said Litchfield Park citizens were led to believe that the only way to build a new gym was to demolish the old one.

The district declined to go on camera, but a spokesman tells ABC15 the decision to demolish the old gym is based on money; restoring the nearly 100-year-old building would have been incredibly expensive. 

The spokesman also refutes Margaret's claims of a hidden agenda, saying that plans for the new gym have been public since 2010.

Baker is just asking for more research to be done before the demolition starts later this week. 

"We would like for the school board to hold a special meeting and give us an opportunity to present out appeal and delay demolition so we can get some professionally developed data regarding redeveloping and reusing the building."

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