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Sunday, March 6, 2011


This old School House built as a High School approximately 100 years ago is scheduled for the wrecking ball this summer. The new and improved architectural version right next door is almost ready for its new generation. The old building has been a middle school for 50 years, yet the charm of the original old fashion gymnasium still carries itself proudly. Original wooden chairs are still intact, the overall size of the gymnasium shows the glory days of early basketball. One can just imagine the late great founders of the early basketball stars and the fans cheering at the big games. I get chills imagining that!
                Attached to the 100 year old gymnasium and built in the 1950’s is a band and choir building. More modern in design but it is a goner also. Seems parking lots for the new version are more important than history after all these are just buildings and no one gets attached to them do they? Another building on what one could call a campus of school buildings really is an Industrial Arts Building. Early craftsmen and soon to be Engineers and Industrial Leaders of when we were an Industrial giant nation, skills learned to be able to more readily adapt when these students joined the workforce of America.
                There is one other two story building built identical to the main building a few years later. It has the original character of the main building at approximately one third the size. So you can see it is quite a campus of learning, actually that is its drawback. It has served its purpose all too well because everything around the mighty old School has changed and been rebuilt, yet old Mr. Schoolhouse is still standing tall. That in a nutshell is its own fault. Built solid, and to last. When Mr. Schoolhouse was built air conditioning was not needed, apparently the school children of today must demand it, a necessity of learning, I suppose. I went to school here for 3 years and never even thought about air conditioning one way or the other, we must have had it rough back the; if it was stuffy the teachers opened the windows. There were shade trees blocking the sun from the heat of the day you merely opened enough windows and outside doors and the old school felt the gentle soothing breeze. The tar paper and pebbly roofs, with glass and metal monstrosities of today require air conditioning, so that the kids don’t cook their brains. What about planting Mother Nature’s own personal air conditioning “trees”.  Those days were certainly rough times, how did we ever survive!
                Now to the Main Building, a magnificent structure built like Midwestern Courthouses of that era. Excuse me as I throw in a bit of irony here. The courthouse in the city I live in is functional and beautifully preserved. Built before Mr. Schoolhouse and is the focal point of our revitalization of our downtown. It was built with the same charm and craftsmanship that has become as antiquated as the School. Erected from Limestone from the heartland of America, built by Craftsmen, using stone, individual red bricks and the finest wood for its wooden floors, whose intention was for it to last.
 I remember the cafeteria, science classrooms and lockers in the basement. The first floor was administrative offices, library, foreign language classrooms and English classrooms. The second floor was Math, History, Study hall and lockers. The third floor was Home Economics and a massive, by the imagination of a young man at my age, Auditorium. By the standards of today it was nothing, but to me it was something special. We watched movies from a real projector that captivated me.
                As I take a tour of the new glass and steel heartless cold building by walking around the multi-million dollar big name designer, builder, architectural piece of “art”. Just like everything it seems overpriced and lacking. I wonder will the kids here, be any better educated by the new and improved. Can we buy education, the willingness to learn to imagine, to do better than the previous generations. Will the first generation going through these sterile white walls be any smarter than any of the other century of students that have walked the stairwells of old Mr. Schoolhouse; that have filled the wooden floors with the music of children walking to their next class? I think not!      

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