As you enter our community by car, you pass a very nice sign that features a swan as the S in Swanton. Beneath the logo it reads, “Honoring the past, Committed to the future.” I like that sign. It’s friendly and speaks directly to the purpose of this letter. I have asked the Swanton Board of Education to reconsider their plan to demolish the 1904 and 1939 Cherry Street buildings. They have no plans for that land (perhaps a park commemorating the building with ‘saved’ pieces of it).
I understand and appreciate that these facilities are no longer appropriate to house our children. I also appreciate the difficult task of planning the relocation of our middle school students. But what I am asking for is a stay of execution of at least the 1904 building and if possible the 1939 addition until a later date. Hopefully a person or organization will be found to renovate and repurpose the facility. The foundations and brick work are sound. The roof needs repair to halt further damage inside. I’m proposing the buildings be buttoned up and hopefully a group could be found to save them. An example of two such stories are the Monclova Community Center (sat vacant for 25 years) and the Carnegie Library in south Toledo (vacant for 12 years). Both beautiful old buildings being brought back to life (still not as old as our structure!). The 1904 building has unreproducible architecture. The WPA building history takes us back to an era when jobs were created that provided the students of our village a public school and system unparalleled in modern times.
Build your new buildings to educate the next generation of students. No votes will be held over heads by me. I will support Swanton schools, no matter what the outcome. I ask for like-minded individuals to call, e-mail, or write the Board and Superintendent (Jeff) Schlade with respectful requests that these buildings be spared of the wrecking ball.
We have many important issues on our plates here in Swanton. There is no time for apathy. There are many people working hard to preserve our town the way it once was, and still is, a wonderful place to raise our families.