Elyria Couple has dreams of turning old school building into 'Di - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Elyria Couple has dreams of turning old school building into 'Disney World' for people with special needs

Photo of the site (Source WOIO) Photo of the site (Source WOIO)
ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) -

An Elyria couple is working hard to fix up the old Thomas Jefferson School in Elyria and turn it into what they describe as a "Disney World," for people with special needs.

The building, that is nearly one hundred years old, has water damage and is in desperate need of a new roof. The last time the school building was occupied by students and teachers was close to twenty years ago.

Contractors have given Farai and Lasonia Mvere estimates of anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 to bring even just one part of the school built in the 1960's up to operational condition.

When we first met the Mvere's over a year ago, Lasonia Mvere told us she had had a dream.

"It was God, and he said, "this is what I want you to do," I said, "I can't do it. I can't run a big building. I don't know how I am going to do it," he said, "don't worry about it. This is what I designed for you to work with special needs."

Within a hours of that interview, the Mvere's won their bid to purchase the old Thomas Jefferson School, where Lasonia had gone to Elementary School. The Elyria School Board approved the sale of the building.

The Mvere's paid 1,000 dollars for the six acre property.

Some people have questioned how the couple will be able to pull off such a lofty vision for a building in such terrible shape.

"They've even said, 'you're talking about re-inventing the wheel,' and I've said, 'I'm going to reinvent the wheel and do something totally different," said Lasonia Mvere.

If the Mvere's can raise enough money, the old school will become the new Elyria Developmental Center.

"Ultimately, we want this to be a city - a town where special needs children can come play in sensory rooms - have like a Boys and Girls Club for people with special needs," said Farai Mvere.


The Mvere's say they believe the community will come together to help them create this one of a kind place.

"It means a lot to me to - a whole lot to me to bring life back to this building and to see other individuals enjoy it, just as I did," added Lasonia Mvere.

The Mvere's hope to open their new facility by this time next year.

The link to the GoFundMe is here

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