Save millions: Repair Wilkes, don’t replace it | Letters | March 20
March 19, 2009 · Updated 4:39 PM
The capital projects director of the Bainbridge School District, Tamela Van Winkle, claims that Wilkes Elementary School is “an aging building that’s beyond its useful life” and it has to be demolished.
A new school needs to be built for $35 million. Why should a 51-year-old one-story brick building be junked just because it has “structural issues,” “leaking underground pipes” and a “septic system that needs to be replacing.”
How about not throwing away but repairing?
What is a “useful lifespan” anyway? My elementary school in Germany was built in 1266 (yes, twelve sixty-six), originally as a hospital: the Holy Ghost Hospital.
It survived the 1350-1450 civil war, the Reformation, the Schmalkaldic Wars, the 30 Years’ War, and the Napoleonic occupation, the plague, numerous peasant uprisings, as well as the harsh northern German winters.
In 1812, 550 years after it was built as a hospital, it was converted to one of the first public elementary schools in Germany, and named Holy Ghost School.
I was a pupil at Holy Ghost in 1948 when my hometown celebrated its 1,000 anniversary, and the 750-year-old building still functions as a public elementary school today.
Nobody in his right mind would consider tearing it down just because it is old.
James U. Behrend
Crystal Springs Drive