East Liverpool vocational school awarded for historical renovations

Morning Journal/Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert The New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool has been awarded for its attention to historic detail in renovating two formerly vacant buildings, and Director Jim Buttermore (center) shared the awards this week with (left) local architect Scott Shepherd and Mayor Ryan Stovall.

EAST LIVERPOOL — The New Castle School of Trades has received two awards from state agencies for the historical renovation of two formerly vacant Fifth Street buildings which now house its career-tech programs downtown.

Director Jim Buttermore said Tuesday that Arkinetics, the Cleveland architectural firm hired to work on the $7.5 million renovation project, submitted it for consideration by Heritage Ohio and the State Historic Preservation Office of The Ohio History Connection.

The project came away with the Best Commercial Rehabilitation Award from Heritage Ohio and with an Award of Merit from the History Connection for “an outstanding contribution to historic preservation.”

Also named in the Award of Merit were Arkinetics and Lionmark LLC, the local company headed by architect Scott Shepherd which was instrumental in bringing the NCST project to the city.

Buttermore pointed out that NCST’s project was one of only five in the state to win the award, and he said with a smile that Burt Logan, executive director of the State Preservation Office came to East Liverpool and toured the buildings “to make sure the pictures they sent him were real.”

Buttermore and others involved in the project went to Columbus Oct. 28 to accept the award of merit.

“These are two really prestigious awards for the work done here by Scott’s group, Arkinetics and Stitle Construction (the general contractor out of Salem),” Buttermore said.

As part of the historic tax credits received for the project, NCST was required to renovate the former department and five-and-ten stores in a historically accurate manner, and Buttermore said that was done, even down to the hardwood floors, staircase, windows and balcony.

Construction began in September 2015 and the school’s ribbon cutting was held Nov. 11, 2016.

“I think it’s really neat for the city to be part of this. It shows what the mayor and Scott’s group are doing to bring the city back,” Buttermore said, adding that Lionmark was “critical in getting us here and making personal sacrifices in their group” to make the project come to fruition.

Mayor Ryan Stovall said, “It’s nice to see the state recognizes our businesses and schools for their investments into the city.”

Shepherd said all the partners in the project were proud to be able to work together to make it happen, saying the city “pitched in” and without its help, the project would not have taken place. He also pointed out that the Better City developmental company hired by the former city council was instrumental in the project.

“It was definitely a collaboration between private, public and non-profit groups. It was unique and we got it done, and we’re proud to be here,” Buttermore said of the school, which will hold its first graduation of 20 students in December.