But in the wake of a School District resolution to demolish the 90-year-old former high school building, the Campbells and other Geneva historic preservationists turn their attention from ways to stop the wrecking ball to preserving Coultrap's relics and memorializing both the building and its namesake.
Speaking again before the board—this time at Williamsburg Elementary School, where board meetings were moved after the vote for Coultrap's demolition—Colin Campbell asked board members to establish a committee to develop a list of items that should be salvaged from the Coultrap facility before demolition begins.
Campbell suggested the committee include representatives from the Board of Education, the School District 304 administrative and maintenance staff, the Geneva History Center and members of the community at large.
The first step, he said, should be for the committee to take "a thorough tour of the building, listing and photographing items for possible salvage as they go."
The committee could then develop a plan for the removal and disposition of the items on the list and, with district approval, carry out the removal of the items to be saved.
Campbell also proposed the construction of a permanent memorial to the Coultrap School and to its namesake, educator Harry Coultrap to be placed on the property near where the building now stands.
"One idea might be to salvage the blocks above the south entrance that spell out 'Coultrap School' and enough bricks to create a memorial that contains these blocks as well as plaques commemorating the school and Mr. Coultrap," Campbell said. "This could be funded by private donation and through the sale of salvaged bricks, tiles and other materials and mementos from the building."
Campbell suggested the committee work with the History Center to create a 30- to 45-minute documentary video titled “Memories of the Coultrap School."
The Geneva History Center could provide short videos of people from as far back as the 1940s and '50s and as recent as 2009 recounting particular, significant vignettes about their time at Coultrap, Campbell suggested. A high school video class could then create "a thorough video tour of the building, making sure to linger for a minute on the specific places mentioned in the History Center videos."
The footage could be edited into a polished documentary, copies of which might be sold to raise money to fund the memorial.
"Terry Emma and I can represent the History Center in this effort and coordinate with the director to the High School class to produce this documentary," Campbell said.
Campbell said after the meeting that the suggestions seemed to be well-received by the School Board members and administrators.
"They are agreeing and appointing a liaison," he said.
At noon today, the Geneva History Center is holding a brown-bag lunch titled, "Memories of Coultrap." Cookies and coffee are provided, and a large crowd is expected. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for Geneva History Center members and students.
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