Support Preservation of South Elementary School
By signing this petition, I ask the school board of Fremont County School District 1 to support actions to preserve the original structure of South Elementary.
Following are 5 salient reasons to preserve the original 1937 building of South Elementary:
Built in 1937 by President Roosevelt's Public Works Administration, it is physical evidence of the program developed to employ artisans and craftsmen during the Great Depression. As such it provides a window into history, offering us a valuable educational tool today. What a great opportunity for an elementary school student to go to school in a building that is so important in the history of Wyoming and the US.
Historic architectural value:
South Elementary is architecturally significant on a local, state and national level and has been featured in books on public buildings. Built in 1937, the masonry, sculpture and architectural details of South Elementary are a rare example of Art Deco in Fremont County. As a New Deal school, South Elementary represents an important era of our history. Only a few New Deal schools survive in Wyoming. Features of the building that are especially representative of New Deal architecture include the bas-relief sculptures done in brick and the rams’ heads. The renowned architectural historian Vincent Scully once said that architecture is a conversation between generations carried out across time. South Elementary is a strong, clear voice of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Demolition would silence this voice.
A renovation of the original structure could cost significantly less than new construction for the same square footage. According to the Wyoming School Facilities Commission new construction for schools is estimated at $174 per square foot, as compared to $100 - $140 per square foot for renovation.
Current procedure/current standards:
Due to procedural changes in the Wyoming School Facilities Commission over the past 5 years, an evaluation by a historic architectural preservation professional is now standard procedure for all schools being considered for facility improvements. Evaluation by a historic architectural preservation professional provides valuable information on the structural integrity and preservation possibilities. An evaluation of South Elementary would incorporate current facility evaluation procedure into the construction process. Renovation would bring the facility up to current technological, structural and environmental standards.
Renovating an existing structure creates less waste than
demolishing it and building new. In Fremont County we already have the problem
of limited space in the landfill. In addition to all of the above
considerations, preserving the original structure of South Elementary would
create less waste than demolition.
Below is a plate from the book, Public Buildings, which features South Elementary School