- Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:33
The levy committee has continuously beaten their drum about McCormick's age with comments like "Nebraska wasn't a state when McCormick was built."
This statement is only partially true and doesn't tell the whole story.
The present McCormick Middle School contains four main sections that were constructed at different times. The oldest section, which contains the boiler room, cafeteria, kitchen, and two classrooms, was built in 1867. Nebraska became a state on March 1, 1867. I'm not going to get into technicalities on this - they were both about the same time.
But let's look at what else was built in 1867.
The basement of the Wellington First United Methodist Church was completed and dedicated on Christmas Day 1867 and the sanctuary was completed in July 1868. In 2009, the belfry and spire were removed due to safety concerns. By the same logic that the levy committee is using, the church might have been better to be demolished and a new building erected. But the community banded together and raised the necessary funding to save this beautiful historic structure and in June 2010 the spire was lifted back onto the rebuilt belfry - safe and good as new.
As noted above, McCormick has four main sections. The front section of the building, containing the library, art room, administrative offices, and some other classrooms was constructed in 1916. The north side of the building, housing grades 4-6 and the auditorium were built in 1938. Finally, the south side of the building, housing grades 7-8 was built in 1953. So while it is true that one part of the building is 145 years old, that is just one section of the building and accounts for just 13% of the floor space.
Age and historical importance are not reasons to save a school that is no longer able to fulfill its primary objective: education. But age is also not a reason to simply abandon a building without exploring options for renovation. If it were, then the Town Hall (1885), Methodist Church (1867-1868), Congregational Church (1896), Herrick Memorial Library (1902), and most of downtown would have all been demolished by now.
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