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MASON CITY, IA – Its been years since Justin Hanson and many others on this tour stepped back into these classrooms, but once they’re inside, time stands still, and it feels like class is about to begin.
“Brought back a lot of memories, I grew up in the neighborhood so it was nice to come back here and get to take some pictures of the old school and reminisce about the old memories,” said Hanson.
The Mason CityCommunitySchool District board decided to hold a community forum to hear from the public on what they would like to see done with the school.
And they kicked the night off with a tour to remind people what’s at stake
For those like Hanson, who also live in the neighborhood, holding this meeting, makes sense.
“It’s an icon in this neighborhood; it’s been here for so many years. I have a lot of family that came here too when they were kids. I think it’s good for them to hear the publics concern before making any decisions,” said Hanson.
Bob Thoms, a Mason City School Board Member, is also keen on listening to what the community has to say.
“We hope that they understand that we listen. We’re not going to make any decisions without getting that input from the community and that’s kind of been that way we’ve been going with the construction at the high school and community meetings about what’s happening there so we just want to continue the transparency with the community,” said Thoms.
A complete renovation on the building would cost about six million dollars.
But it would also cost more than three hundred thousand to have the building torn down.
That’s an option many don’t want to see happen.
“It is sad to see the numbers are dwindling to know that we don’t need all these buildings anymore that we’re down to the four elementary and those are well staffed and good numbers in them but it’s sad,” said Thoms.
Some of the options for the building brought up at the meeting by community members included everything from housing a non-profit organization to bringing in a daycare.
But no matter what the future holds for the brick and mortar for alumni like Hanson, this elementary school is one that will always hold memories.
“Just as long as we keep it standing and get people in here that will use it, that’d be great,” said Hanson.
Superintendent Anita Micich tells us you can’t touch a school without reaching out to the community first, and discussion of the future of the building will be put on their school board agenda.
They hope to have a plan figured out by the end of the year.