Police cars sitting outside of Kohler Hall have led to numerous rumors circling about what could be going on inside of the old building, which has been shut down for a few years now.
Contrary to what some may have suspected, BW was allowing the building to be used by various police departments for training purposes.
This arrangement began with the Shaker Heights Police Department, resulting from a connection between Dick Fletcher, senior vice president and his son-in-law, a commander and canine handler for the department.
It was requested by their department that the building’s basement be opened specifically for the training of police dogs, said Fletcher. Through the use of Kohler’s basement, their police dogs were trained to hunt for both drugs and people, he said.
It was a good place for the canine dogs to train because of all the interesting, different hiding places within the basement of Kohler, said Fletcher.
The Berea Police Department was also given the opportunity to use Kohler’s basement for training purposes. BW has worked closely with the Berea PD, developing a strong relationship with them over a number of years, said Fletcher.
“We want to have a good relationship with the people we work with,” said Fletcher. “When they request something of us, we try to be responsive.”
It has not yet been decided when Kohler will be taken down, said Fletcher.
The building was assessed by a historic preservation architect, Heather Rudge, in order to determine whether or not the building would be worth investing in.
Rudge’s recommendation was that the building is not worthy of preserving. The building would be too costly to try and restore to a functional use.
“We decided the best option is to mothball it for now,” said Fletcher.
In addition to assisting police departments through the use of Kohler, BW also extended its help to nearby fire departments.
When a house on Eastland Road was planned to come down, two fire departments requested its use for fire training. Upon receiving this request, BW was glad to help out.
“For two weeks, the fire departments from Middleburg Heights and Brook Park jointly used the house for training, they even set fire to the house,” said Fletcher.
There are a number of other ways in which BW collaborates with the city and community.
The Digital Marketing Clinic offers seminars for small businesses in the city, stated Fletcher. These seminars are held in the Center for Innovation and Growth.
“We help support the community and encourage business growth and development in the city,” said Fletcher.
BW also works closely with the Berea City School District through the education department, offering training for teachers.
“It’s important to be a part of the community,” said Fletcher. “Part of that is to have responsibility and encourage being a good neighbor.”