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Thursday, August 25, 2011

VANDALIZED -- UPPER SILVER CREEK SCHOOL

Upper Silver Creek school. Beautiful aged metal roof.


Great trimmed our sash windows now with a war-zone look

Fresh paint leads me to believe that the school was closed recently?

Upper Silver Creek school -- steps to nowhere


Schools seem especially open to vandalism  --  once they have been vacated that is. Soon a beautiful old structure can become target practice for young folks throwing rocks through the windows, graffiti on interior walls, and slogans painted on large surfaces -- in time it sits there degraded and wounded like a homeless person. 


Where are the caretakers? Do structures that were built with fine design and materials need such insult? Does it not insult the community that used the school?


The school I went to in my elementary grades still stands and is still the glowing red brick building I remember. The junior high building that was new when I started seventh grade is now gone. It was bulldozed to make way for development -- apartments. My former high school has grown in size yet is still a centerpiece for my former small, citified community. 


I do know of several communities that have rehabbed schools for offices, police departments, apartments, community centers, and other useful endeavors. How do some communities make the recycling of old schools work for them while others let the old structures decay and become eyesores?


In a nation of plenty, up to now, why is it that we disregard our history, our buildings, our communities, and our environment? Too immense of a question to answer I guess -- so do we continue  to just walk away for the most part? 



24 comments:

  1. The school was once handsome in a simple way. The picture with the smashed windows is sad. I immediately think it was boys who did not like school and who are trying to destroy whatever authority they felt was imposed on them. I don't know if a community can protect such unused buildings except by converting them into other uses as you mention. I know the K-12 building I attended is now a senior citizen's apartment building and is well kept. Your post makes me think how schools, especially in more rural areas have been changing over my lifetime, from one-room schools in very small communities to progressively larger schools as rural areas regionalized their educational systems. That left abandoned schools in many towns - some neglected and vandalized like this one. Social progress? I don't know.

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  2. My old elementary school, where I spent all my grade school years except for 5th grade, is now an Army Reserve Depot. We have another old school in town that is now a senior day care center. There are many creative ways to use old schools. After so many years of igniting bright and active young minds, it's a pity that this one has to suffer the indignity of slow and random destruction.

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  3. The school I attended when I began my education has been torn down and where it stood is a park that bears its name. It makes me sad. The middle school is now the site of expensive condos. God knows we can't waste riverfront property on kids!

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  4. Hello Barbara:
    This is such a great pity. A fine building rapidly becoming an eyesore. But what is the mentality of anyone who vandalises property - something which appears to happen everywhere today?

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  5. How sad. I know a man whose daughter was arrested along with others for vandalizing her school. She later committed suicide. Some teen age kids are mentally ill and destructive. Dianne

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  6. Jane and Lance -- Anymore, countrysides, small towns and cities are experiencing this dilemma. It is almost a plague that surprises us on one hand and on the other hand it doesn't surprise us as we have become desensitized to it. Thanks -- barbara

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  7. Kay, of course we can't use valued property for the common good only for profiteering. -- barbara

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  8. June, could this growth of large fancy schools be a symptom of "bigger is better?" I would say education programs need to be better not necessarily bigger. School boards need to look at their mission -- to educate children. Instead school boards are known to give lucrative building contracts to contractors for advanced school complexes called schools. Who profits?

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  9. Louise -- I agree -- older schools are being used in new ways that are good for the community. But not all communities encourage this reuse. And yes, this is a pity. Thanks for the comments -- barbara

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  10. Dianne -- yes children (and adults) can have a destructive element hidden in their personality somewhere. But aside from that my question is where are the caretakers? Where is the school board? I'm sure they are aware, maybe?

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  11. It's quite a pretty building. Such a waste.
    A single story rural school near us was recently turned into a retirement home. I didn't think that seemed ideal. There's not even so much as a general store within walking distance. But maybe if you're used to living in the country it would be okay.

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  12. Beautiful pictures -- yes, it's sad to see such mindless destruction. Inn our county, many schools no longer in use have been re-purposed as Senior Centers.

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  13. That's really a shame. I detest seeing such useless, wanton destruction and do not understand it at all. I hope the building is either repaired and reused, or if it's been abandoned and is torn down that the beautiful metal roof is at least salvaged!

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  14. Sheri -- Many years ago I remember that senior housing was either on public transportation routes or near a grocery store -- this was in Michigan. Don't know if this regulation still exists although I thought it was a good idea. Many seniors don't drive, yet are independent. Only an issue of transportation stands in the way of their independence. Thanks -- barbara

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  15. Vicki -- yes, senior centers are a good use in these beautiful old buildings. Also, I have seen many senior apartments in old schools. Updated without loss of vintage integrity. Thanks -- barbara

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  16. Laloofah -- I agree about salvaging pieces of the resources that were used to build the school. With our declining availability of resources we should recycle all we can. --- barbara

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  17. Barbara,
    Love the header photo. Not sure what I think about the school. We can not save everything. Vandalism a result of kids with out enough to do. The kids not alone in having destructive impulses. I say impulses for surely it was not their regular thing to do. More than likely peer pressure from one bad apple so to speak. Funny that you say sitting there degraded and wounded like a homeless person. We are to go share and supply lunch today with a group of homeless folks living in a tent city. I hope I fit in for I am not better or worse than them I think.

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  18. Hi Barbara.I was attracted to your blog by it's title. The Appalachian mountains have always held an intrigue for me since I heard of them in school aged about 14!I have looked at previous posts and really like this blog. This sad school shows the rot in society that someone even wants to vandalise a once important building in the community. I abhor wanton destruction. I invite you to my blog. Claire

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  19. vandalism is shameful. Could be done by kids who don't like school and it is their way of getting back. My grade school was turned into a school bus terminal. All the former students and teachers were invited to come back when they closed it down for a get together. We got to put our handprint and name on the wall of the cafeteria.

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  20. Grampy,

    RE: homeless analogy

    That is nice that you are giving the homeless lunch today and that you feel that you feel a likeness in spirit with them.

    In regards to the school analogy. I used the words degraded and wounded because that is exactly how our government and many citizens treat homeless. These people have a myraid of problems that are sinking them fast or have already sunk them. Gov't and citizenry throw paltry peanuts at them. Very few programs are designed to give them housing, health benefits, help with getting back on their feet or providing them with jobs. There are some fine programs that do help but they are the exception rather than the rule.

    In many circles of society the homeless fall into the segment of "throw aways," not only do we waste products we waste people.

    Thanks for the nice comment on my header photo.

    -- barbara

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  21. Janet -- what a fine idea -- putting former students hand-prints on the wall. A real reminder of the children that passed through the building. Importance to the community too -- leaving their mark on a former alms-mater. Sweet! -- barbara

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  22. Claire -- appreciated your comment. Looked at your blog and thought how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place. About the school -- I feel it all comes down to the values instilled in the community. -- barbara

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  23. It's a awful that folks think an abandoned or unused building is there for them to destroy for the sake of having fun. Shame on them!

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  24. Mama-Bug -- Perhaps such vandalism reflects something amiss in the community -- perhaps values? thanks for your comment -- barbara

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