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Published: Thursday, 8/12/2004

Evergreen school's dedication ready to go

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Custodian Sally Hintz helps get the school ready for opening. Custodian Sally Hintz helps get the school ready for opening.
DIANE HIRES / BLADE Enlarge

METAMORA - With floors refinished and other projects completed, the new Evergreen Middle School is ready for public inspection.

The school, where students attended classes at the end of the last school year, will be dedicated during a special ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Aug. 19 in the gymnasium. An open house will be held afterward.

When the school opened last spring, not everything was finished, said Superintendent Kenneth Jones.

"We did not want to hold the dedication until everything was done," he said "We decided to start this school year with the dedication."

Workers have been busy in recent days wrapping up projects, such as soundproofing the gymnasium.

In April, students from the middle school in Metamora moved into a new location, Evergreen Middle School, the former Evergreen High School. The former high school, built in 1967 and renovated this year, is attached to the new high school on Fulton County Road 6. The district is constructing an elementary school nearby that is to replace its elementaries in the communities of Lyons and Ai.

Construction work on the elementary school is progressing on schedule, and by Nov. 1 a decision will be made about when students will move into the building.

"We plan to start classes in the new school on Jan. 3," Mr. Jones said, but that date won't be firmed up until November.

No decisions have been made about the future of the old school building in Metamora , but one possible tenant is Northwest State Community College.

In response to an invitation from Northwest State, Metamora Village Council members plan to tour the college near Archbold "to see what they are all about," said Karin Sauerlender, fiscal officer for the village.

Several weeks ago, college president Betty Young toured the school building with Superintendent Jones. Monday, local business and civic leaders will tour Northwest State's campus near Archbold. Northwest State is considering the use of the former school as one way to increase access to students, she said, noting that some Northwest students from this end of Fulton County spend nearly 45 minutes driving to the main campus.

The college is conducting feasibility work at this point on the former school. The building would need significant renovation, Dr. Young said.

During a Sept. 15 community meeting, Northwest State officials will be interested in determining if there is community support to help pay for the renovation. "We will look for support of the community," she said.

The college would be interested in private donations, not a tax levy, she said. At this point, the college is most interested in preserving the original portion of the old school, which, the president said, carries a "tremendous sense of tradition for the community."

The college, she said, is interested in blending "the sense of tradition in education with our goal to increase access for our student," providing a win-win situation for the community and Northwest State.

"The building has a lot of tradition for the community. The community has a desire to maintain it. We have a desire to extend our access. It is a good starting point for dialogue," Dr. Young said.

Alumni of the former Metamora Village School, which opened in 1909, have been meeting to consider possibilities for the building.

Some options that have been discussed include office space for a physical therapist, a place for senior citizens to gather, a youth center with open gym nights, or a historical museum with a focus on children and trains.



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