Westfield Insurance to Rejuvenate Vacant School Property

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Westfield Insurance to Rejuvenate Vacant School Property

Westfield Center, Ohio - September 3, 2013 - When Cloverleaf School District consolidated its elementary education to a new facility early in 2012, the Village of Westfield Center was confronted with a problem: What to do with the now vacant Westfield School on picturesque Park Circle?

Westfield School had served the community well since its construction in 1923, and many area residents have fond memories of when they or their children attended classes.  But generations of wear and tear had taken their toll.  
After an independent inspection, Village officials concluded that the building needs to come down.  However, the costs far exceeded the value of the land and the budget capacity of the Village.
 
Westfield Insurance, headquartered in Westfield Center, has agreed to purchase the property for $100,000, an amount that covers Village costs invested in site evaluation and legal fees.  In turn, the company pledged to preserve appropriate artifacts from the building that served as a center of education for nearly a century.  The company would assume the costs to remove the building, and would maintain the property and the beauty of Park Circle.
 
Jim Clay, Westfield Group Leader and CEO, explained the decision saying, “Westfield Group has a long history of working cooperatively and supporting the Village.  The acquisition preserves the value of our properties adjacent to the school.”

Currently, there are no specific building or use plans for the property.  Westfield Insurance will maintain the property and will assess optimization of the land as needs are determined.
 
Westfield Center Mayor Tom Horwedel is pleased to save costs for the Village and have Westfield Insurance lead on the removal of the school building structure.  “Westfield Insurance has experience and knowledge to manage the project, including any unplanned contingencies that might arise,” he said.  “We are confident they will make the property aesthetically attractive for the community, as they do other parts of their corporate campus.” 

Kirk Barry, Westfield Insurance Risk Services Leader, will lead the project and manage the safe removal of the deteriorating structure.  The first step is temporarily securing the property.  A construction firm with experience in school demolition will be named as the general contractor and begin work shortly.  Demolition and removal of the building will be completed this year.

“The historical significance of the school to the community is something we respect and appreciate.  We will work with the Historical Society and the Village to preserve artifacts that are important to them,” Barry said. 
Westfield Insurance, founded in Westfield Center in 1848, has historical ties of its own to the property.  Previously, the company had donated portions of the property to the school.  In its early days, the school auditorium often was used by the company as a place for sales meetings with agents, and in 1948 the school gymnasium hosted the company’s 100-year anniversary celebration.
     
With the purchase, ownership of the property comes full circle, and Westfield Insurance has once again helped keep Westfield Center an attractive, desirable place to live and work. 

About Westfield Insurance

In business for more than 165 years, Westfield Insurance provides commercial insurance in 21 states, personal insurance in 10 states and surety services to customers in 31 states. Westfield is one of the nation’s 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of over 1,000 independent insurance agencies. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies.  Learn more about Westfield Insurance at www.WestfieldInsurance.com.
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For information contact:
Gary Christy   (330) 887.6640  garychristy@westfieldgrp.com
Terri Grimm    (330) 887.6055  terrigrimm@westfieldgrp.com

 



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