McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Opinion | Landmark Elementary School should not be demolished

Landmark Elementary School is officially endangered, and the extinction has more cons than pros
Rose Wenckebach
Landmark Elementary School demolition was discussed in April and May school board meetings. Though parents have made their case to the board, the fate of Landmark is still up in the air.

Not too long ago, cars drove by Landmark Elementary School instead of the passengers smiling, they now sigh. The bricks perfectly reflecting sunlight brought back memories of attending the school students playing with their friends and parents reminiscing about picking up their kids everyday. Recently all people can think of how much a shame it would be to destroy this place and all the problems it would cause. Everyone drives by and now all they can think about is how Landmark should not be demolished.

The demolition of Landmark Elementary School was discussed in a District 15 board meeting on April 9 due to its state and relevance to McHenry. D15 hasn’t been providing money in the right places, in the D15 board meeting on April 9 the board discussed a lot surrounding finances. A facilities architectural study on Landmark was presented at the meeting and stated that Landmark was requiring an estimated 13.5 million dollars in funds to bring it up to compliance with D15’s strategic plan. D15 also mentioned in this board meeting that they have 70 million dollars in investments which they say is a benefit as they do not need to put large financial decisions to referendum, yet approve a large amount of money to other schools and projects within D15. Now they cannot seem to allocate funds to keep Landmark open.

Another thing to consider is a large public vote. In the “Prevent the Closure of Landmark Elementary School” petition on, 1034 people have paid to sign the petition. 161 people signed this week alone. People on who signed the petition all agree that regardless of the school’s exemplary status, the district’s board is considering shutting down the building instead of investing in necessary repairs. This decision will not only erase a piece of our community’s history but also place undue burden on other schools as they absorb displaced students and staff may have a risk of not finding another job.

It would be a shame to demolish the building because Landmark is quite literally a landmark of McHenry. Landmark itself is 130 years old, having been standing since 1894. It was used to accommodate grades one through eight as well as a four year high school until 1924 when a new four-year high school was built. Landmark has been through this situation before, the building was closed for several years and was scheduled for demolition until McHenry’s citizens voted to save it. Commenters under every post suggest that clearly, this building has a lot of history and if it’s not going to be a school anymore, Mchenry should turn into a historical museum to honor its journey.

Some people think that apartments in place of Landmark would be more beneficial to McHenry. But, if the town were to add apartments, assuming families would move in, there might not be a place for their kids to go to school. Some schools may become overcrowded due to the loss of an entire Elementary. This might cause the schools to require additions in their schools or require more staff.

Landmark isn’t just some building, it’s a place. It’s a place many of us have fond memories of. It’s a place many of us walk past or drive by. It’s a place children go to school everyday and a place teachers go to work and inspire those students and this place can be so much more with a few necessary repairs and upgrades. While the renovation would cost McHenry, it would be a beneficial investment.

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  • V

    VictoriaMay 21, 2024 at 5:03 pm

    I went to kindergarten here many years ago along with my whole family. It would be a shame to see this historic building be demolished!!