Former students of Buckeye Valley’s Radnor building took one last walk down memory lane Saturday during a farewell to the 100-year-old school building. Construction of the building began in 1915 and was finished in 1917. It is now scheduled to be demolished.
“One of the things I noticed today as I walked around that former students, young and old, have come through and I’ve heard wonderful stories,” said Justine Santschi, president of the board of education. “Even though this a bittersweet day for people, there have been some tears shed, it’s wonderful to know that people who came here have such positive feelings about the school and the educational experiences they had at this little county school of Buckeye Valley North.”
The old Radnor building will be demolished to make way for two new elementary buildings to be completed in time for the 2018-19 school year, according to school officials.
Santschi said the old school building was offered to Radnor Township, but they chose not to take it “because of the cost of the building.” The space where the building now stands will become a green space in Radnor.
Walter Penry has a long family and personal history with the the building. He said he started at the school in 1939 and he graduated in 1951 attendingl all 12-years in the building.
“My grandfather,William Penry, was on the board of education when they built the first half of the building,” said Penry, former student at the school, “and my father was on the board of education when they built the second half of it.”
Penry said he has a lot of good memories associated with the building. Some of the memories were good-natured pranks, he recalled.
“The boys use to go up in the attic and talk down through the cold air ducts into the girls restroom,” he said with a chuckle. “The girls would come piling out of there thinking the boys were in the girls restroom.”
Penry finds it hard that the building is to be demolished. “It’s hard to believe they would go in here and tear a building down that doesn’t have a crack in it,” he said. “With a lot less money then building new buildings, this could have been remodeled.”
Walking through the old three story building the wood floors still shine, but are greatly warped. The paint is curled and peeling away from the walls.
Student art projects still hang on the hallway walls and some of the lockers are full of books. Many of the classrooms still have the black slate chalk boards hanging that former students signed Saturday during the farewell.
Lynette Rice, spokesperson, said some items from the building were donated to the Radnor Historical Society and are now on display.
Diane Welker said she went from the fourth to the eighth grade in the building. “I have some great memories, some great teachers here,” she said. “I started teaching here September of 1976.” Welker retired from the district in 2011.
Welker said the old school has been lots of things. “It’s a great community,” she said. “I hope my kids remember good times here because we had a lot of them. Lots of good memories.”
According to officials, the district will construct from the ground up the new Buckeye Valley West building near Bellpoint in Concord Township. The Buckeye Valley East building in Ashley will be constructed in sections around the existing building.
In a previous report Andrew Miller, superintendent, said this comes with a new challenge. “Keeping the learning going and making the construction distraction minimal,” Miller said. Once construction is finished, the other two buildings will be torn down.
Miller also said at that time that the projected cost for the BV East Elementary School in Ashley is $11.6 million and the school will serve 475 students. The projected cost for the BV West Elementary School is $13.6 million and the school will serve 625 students.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.