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Published: Wednesday, 1/2/2008

Clay alumni get to say good-bye before razing

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Clay Elementary will be among the sites torn down Feb. 1. Clay Elementary will be among the sites torn down Feb. 1.
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Alumni of Clay High School are being given a chance to say farewell to their alma mater before the building's date with the wrecking ball next month and they'll even get to take home a piece of school history.

The original Clay High building as well as Clay Elementary and the annex building will be torn down Feb. 1 as part of a $45 million reconstruction project.

On Wednesday, a reception, with refreshments, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in the new high school cafeteria. The reception is intended to reunite former administrators, teachers, and students and give them a chance to tour the new facilities.

Clay Elementary will be among the sites torn down Feb. 1. Clay Elementary will be among the sites torn down Feb. 1.
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Tammy Swartz, president of the alumni organization, said 12,000 students have graduated from Clay since it opened in 1926.

The alumni association has current addresses for 7,000 of those graduates, said Mrs. Swartz, the coordinator for the school district's gifted program.

"We are about getting people reconnected," she said. "We're always trying to update our database."

Next week's reception is intended to do just that, as well as allow visitors to take a final look around the old buildings.

"We're going to allow people to come in, wander around, and look at the memorabilia," Mrs. Swartz said.

On the weekend following the reception, Oregon City Schools will sell miscellaneous items such as slate boards and woodwork.

The sale will begin at 11 a.m.

The building is graced with Art Deco adornment. Clay opened in 1926 and was used until the 1950s, when part of the structure became the high school. Clay consisted of 16 classrooms, an auditorium and gym used by the grade school and high school. The building is graced with Art Deco adornment. Clay opened in 1926 and was used until the 1950s, when part of the structure became the high school. Clay consisted of 16 classrooms, an auditorium and gym used by the grade school and high school.
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Saturday, Jan. 12. All items will be sold as is and must be paid for before they are removed at the end of the sale, Mrs. Swartz said.

Folks who can't make the sale will have a chance to buy a commemorative brick from the original buildings. Each brick will be numbered on an engraved name plate.

The bricks cost $10 and must be picked up from Mrs. Swartz' office near the front door of the newly renovated high school building.

"We're going to make it very affordable," she said. "We're going to get the bricks from the tear-down, clean them up, and put nameplates on the bricks."

Bricks will be available in March and orders will be taken beginning Jan. 9.

Clay used another commemorative brick project at the football field with the bricks being used as part of a walkway.

Clay Elementary opened in 1926 and was used until the 1950s, when part of the structure became the high school. Clay consisted of 16 classrooms, an auditorium, and gym that were used by the grade school and high school.

The "new" Clay High opened in 1954. The school is named after Jeremiah Clay, whose farm was used for the school.

Clay's construction will be completed in the fall and will feature a V-shaped addition connected to the older part of the school.

The two older buildings on either side of the main high school will be torn down to make room for parking lots.

Contact: Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6078.



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