I am writing in response to several articles in the Paxton Record relating to the future and likely demise of the PBL Eastlawn School building. I found the blatant disregard for the historic value of the building in this decision-making process quite disturbing.
The Eastlawn school building has already lasted more than 90 years, and since it appears to have solid "bones" it will likely last another century if it is taken care of properly.
Modern structures are not often built with the same potential for long-term structural integrity, so it would behoove us in a fiscally financial sense to maintain this valuable historic structure rather than waste taxpayers’ money on a modern structure that would not likely share the same lifespan.
To put this in perspective, think of the value of one of Paxton’s downtown historic buildings in contrast to the structures manufactured in the 1970s. Which one provides more value in terms of beautification of the downtown corridor, historic integrity and general town pride?
Paxton is well recognized for its beautiful historic buildings spread throughout the town. With this inherent historic beauty and the rising antique businesses, you would think the value of historic preservation to this town would be better recognized.
Antique postcards of the Eastlawn school building are still being sold on E-bay and in antique shops. The building exudes historic beauty and integrity and should not be overlooked so quickly. There is far more intrinsic value in this building that is not being accounted for, and those that are overlooking such value should be ashamed.
The school board and architects seem biased against the preservation of this invaluable historic building. The articles in the paper laid out multiple potential options, with all but one involving the demolition of this historic Paxton landmark.
In my opinion, demolition should be a last resort, and I would expect the parties involved to think more critically and creatively to come up with a better solution that can save the structure and its historic integrity as well as accommodate the education of the next generation.
The statement that bothered me most in the first article was the claim that the Eastlawn School building is "considered outdated for today’s learning environment." There are so many magnificent historic buildings that are maintained on university campuses around the country, and since that caliper of education is higher than that of this particular school, I find that statement to lack any merit.
I do understand that there are amenities within a class room that can be outdated (e.g., laboratory and computer equipment), but those types of technological updates are not restricted by the physical structure of the building. I am sure any technological barriers that might exist can be overcome by creative and progressive problem solving.
If for some reason, updating the structure for educational purposes is not found to be worth the investment, it might be in the town’s best interest to keep the facility and repurpose it for the community.
Paxton was built in a more prosperous time, and it is such a shame that this town currently exudes such an under appreciation for that time and the beautiful structures that resulted from it. As a community I implore you to recognize the value of the historic buildings in our beautiful town, and to stand behind the preservation of these historic structures.
Both the Eastlawn and old Westlawn school buildings should be protected under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and maintained as historically valuable landmarks.
JOLEN ANYA MINETZ