Letter to the Editor

Caruthersville school can be saved

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

To the editor:In response to the story "Bond issue an 'uphill battle' for Caruthersville": Engineers have confirmed the structural integrity of Caruthersville High School and that the main building can be repaired. That it survived intact is a testament to the fact that it was extremely well-built.

The insurer's initial offer was to total the gymnasium and to pay $1.8 million to repair the main building. The administration believes this may not be enough to make the needed repairs. But it hasn't produced estimates from its own engineers or contractors to dispute these figures. Instead, it asks for a tax increase to demolish the existing school and build a new one.

The existing building can be modernized to meet present and future needs, comply with current building codes and be made a showplace for far less than $8 million.

Craftsmen built this school with an artistic flourish that would be cost-prohibitive today. Many of the buildings that give Caruthersville its character and cultivate a sense of town pride were built during the same era. Just because they are old does not mean they have lost their utility or charm. Why tear down a beautiful and still serviceable facility that holds many fond memories for alumni and students, only to replace it with a cookie-cutter structure with no character? Historic buildings deserve our best efforts at preservation.

The administration should get on with renovation and repairs so that the children can get out of the temporary trailers into an atmosphere conducive to learning and still respectful of tradition and mindful of cost.

JULIE CHAFFIN, Brandon, Miss.