The images above show the typical school buildings that I work at most of the time. They usually are more than 70 years old, 90% wood-centric, with hardly any elevators [and three steep levelsof stairs to navigate is the norm.]
True, they don’t have the ultramodern trappings and fittings; those things are mostly hodge-podged in as needed. Sure, there are computer labs and other up-to-date amenities present, but there’s that overriding presence of the thousands of children’s minds that have walked through there.
When I enter an older classroom, I get a feeling for the ornate architectural details, the spaciousness of the closets and “cloakrooms”, and heating systems that could warm the planet. As I finger the well-worn varnished wood, my mind drifts back to when students have clearly defined ideas of what “going to school” was about. It was an opportunity, a privilege, and one can sense the great care that was given to the rooms. Unlike today, too many students that I work with have little or no regard for their learning surroundings, and take a throwaway attitude.
Architects of old designed these sites as temples to learning, as a school was often the first official structure in a child’s life. Places of worship were the other official buildings, but schools were attended more than churches.
Yes, it’s nostalgia, but also an appreciation for the architectural details, and commitment to making a visual difference in a community’s daily landscape.
Don’t just tear down the old—repurpose them as needed. Monies can be saved in many cases, and the overall structure can be a plus for historic preservation. New doesn’t necessarily mean better…..