In November 2020, our community voted to pass a $107 million referendum implementing the first phase of the district's school consolidation plan. This included monies for constructing the new Vel Phillips Middle School and rebuilding Webster Stanley Elementary. To be clear, the referendum did not say the existing Merrill School would be demolished.
Over the next year the district commissioned plans and bid out the construction of the new middle school such that by April of 2022, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new site. After staying silent about the existing building up until this point, on May 11, the district administrators revealed their new plan to the Board of Education whereby the existing building would be knocked down so that a new track could be built.
We celebrate the skills and talents of our predecessors and foster a common bond with our neighbors when we save historic buildings.
Sustainability is at the heart of preservation ensuring less waste in the landfill helping preserve our planet for future generations.
Preservation provides immediate jobs while studies show positive tourism income when communities commit to saving what is unique.
Learning is enriched when students can experience first-hand the choices and priorities our forefather made about the built environment.
Often historic schools find new life providing affordable housing which is badly needed in our community.
Click on the images below to read more. (Videos Coming Soon)
It turns out that the school district apparently agrees the building is historic! Read their school description Here.
First, let us be clear. We are not proposing to keep the entire building. It is questionable whether the most recent additions could be considered historic. We would be content saving the original 1901 and 1932 sections of the building. This leaves over 3.3 acres of green space for the middle school student recreational needs.
With this plan, we propose to put the track in East Hall park. This still leaves green space on this parcel consistent with the wishes of the neighborhood. Then we turn the football / soccer field sideways and push it up. This makes room to preserve the historic section of the original Merrill school.
Please share any ideas that could preserve this historic masterpiece.
One could question whether the middle school students need a full-sized track or if a smaller one would be sufficient. Our second potential solution would propose putting a 200 meter track in the open space above the preserved historic school. Students could practice on this track and have their meets at one of the two full-sized tracks located at each high school. Alternatively, the administration had proposed a full-sized track at Traeger school, where ample space is available. This Traeger track could serve as the middle school competition venue.
This plan leaves East hall park alone. However, district administrators have stated their intent to fill this later with an indoor athletic facility or aquatic center, which with the requisite parking needs, will likely provide little green space. Watch Here.
We would be thrilled if you would help advocate for saving this unique local treasure. Ways you can help include:
Tell your friends and neighbors.
Volunteer at the farmer's market.
Join our Facebook group.
Email the board of education.
Display one of our awesome signs.
Click the button to go to the Yard Sign order page.
Feel free to get in touch with us and ask us for a yard sign or give us a novel idea to save the school.