YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The city’s first school, which sits up the hill from downtown Youngstown, hasn’t been used to educate students for at least 50 years. But that’s about to change.
The Youngstown Early College will be relocating from YSU’s Fedor Hall to the original Rayen School building — which now houses the Youngstown Board of Education.
Administrative offices are moving to East High School. The data and information technology departments will move into Choffin Career and Technical Center and the records department is moving to the former Mary Haddow School.
The stately columns still stand tall and the wrought iron fence remains in place at the old school at Wick Avenue and Wood Street.
“The exterior’s in very good shape. As far as the interior’s concerned, it’s been changed quite a bit,” said Bill Lawson, with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
And the interior will be changed again. The process of moving the administrative offices has started, with boxes piled high in the basement.
“We’re really excited to be able to expand,” said Early College Principal Monica Jones.
“If you look at these programs across the nation, there aren’t many outperforming what YEC is able to do,” said Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip.
He said the move will allow more students into the Early College program.
“Opening up 20 W. Wood St. to become the new home of Youngstown Early College will allow even more students and families to take advantage of the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree free of charge,” Mohip said.
Currently, there are 240 students enrolled. That will be expanded to 500.
“Now we can have labs for chemistry, physics, and biology. We can have space for our college students. We can create those rec rooms and study spaces within our own location,” Jones said.
In the building where teaching started 150 years ago, it’ll soon take place again.
The original Rayen School opened in 1866 when Wick Avenue was a dirt road lined with houses. It was Mahoning County’s first public school and later, Youngstown’s first high school.
There was an addition built on in 1910 and the school remained Rayen High until 1922 when a new Rayen was built further north.
“As Youngstown College and Youngstown University grew, they leased it from the school board to use as additional classrooms,” Lawson said.
Everyone will be out of the building by November. Advertisements for bids are expected to go out soon.
“This is a place where we have high expectations. We are a place where we love our children but we expect them to excel,” Jones said.
It hasn’t yet been decided if they’ll rename the building.