The Times West Virginian

Opinion

June 12, 2014

EFHS will live on in hearts of community

Twenty years ago, the students of East Fairmont High School walked into a brand-new building in Pleasant Valley and established that as the home of the Bees. They left behind a building that had served students on the East Side of Fairmont for many decades, which was a little worse for the wear.

Some people in the community were upset that though it was explained that a new EFHS was necessary because of the poor condition of the former facility, officials at the time moved the East Side service area’s 7th and 8th-grade students there.

It was a mistake. It was a mistake that we aren’t going to rub in, though.

Because the community was made whole just this spring when construction was near complete on East Fairmont Middle School and hundreds of students walked less than a block away to the new facility on a May morning. With wide eyes, they walked about the building, marveling at how “clean” and “bright” the new school was. No cracks. No plaster falling. No dark, dingy, unused spaces.

Functional. New. State-of-the-art.

It doesn’t matter that it was probably two decades late. Present-day officials proposed the project and this community supported it. And now students in grades fifth through eighth will enjoy heightened school security, new technology, open spaces, light and a safe environment to continue to build their educational foundation on. Teachers and school personnel will have a better working environment, classroom space suited for the 21st century and the use of a bigger campus and new green space.

We mention all of this because a landmark of our community is coming down within days. The building where thousands called home, first on the high school level and later as a junior high, will come down brick by brick.

There’s a sadness to it all, we know. For many of us, it will be hard to see that building come down.

But it served us well for so many years.

Memories will live on in the minds of alums. But school officials have made sure that a physical representation of the school will be around for many years to come.

The lintel over the main entrance will be removed in one piece, along with a similar piece over the auditorium door, and will be part of a memorial display at EFHS. The bell outside has already been removed and will also be on display at the high school.

Several hundred bricks will also be saved and used in similar projects at East Fairmont Middle and the high school.

The board will also release a DVD focused on the East Fairmont Junior High building so its appearance and history will be available to people in the future.

We’re glad that while the schools realize the need for a new facility, they also recognize the strong ties the building had to the community. We believe the preservation efforts are honorable.

With this project so near completion and an item marked off the county’s to-do list, we certainly hope this county will support efforts to do the same for the North Marion service area in whatever way is the most beneficial to the students and the community for many years to come.

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