'Loyal' Greenies are holding taxpayers hostage
July 4, 2009
Posted: July 3, 2009, 6:14 PM CDT Last updated: July 3, 2009, 6:20 PM CDT
The problem with a lot of the opposition to the proposed demolition of South Park Middle School is their dogs in the fight don't live in the neighborhood.
Last week the Beaumont Heritage Society joined the battle on the side of the "Greenies," South Park alumni who want their school saved - apparently at all costs. That is not what this increasingly contentious situation needs - another party with distorted priorities driven by an outside agenda.
District judge Bob Wortham issued a court order preventing Beaumont ISD from beginning demolition of the school before a July 14 hearing.
Said one BISD official: "It's taxpayers' money that's being eaten up by the will of the few rather than the majority."
We agree and have concerns beyond just the financial.
This mess has dragged on way more than long enough. Renovating the old school for more than it would cost to build a new one not only makes no economic sense, but as disturbingly, does not make educational sense. The self-declared South Park saviors are putting their own desires ahead of the interests of taxpayers andstudents.
As we have said before, there are many ways an architect and builder can create a new structure that honors the old building. - recycling materials, preserving the faĂ§ade, incorporating design elements that resonate with the original structure or including a monument area to the historic school. Architects, not to mention carmakers, fashion designers and chefs, address similar issues all the time. Their frequently inspired efforts pay homage without sacrificing safety, practicality or stricter modern standards.
Citizens should expect BISD to be stewards of their tax dollars and advocates for their children's education at all times - not just when it suits their agendas. The priority here must be consideredly building a future, not selfishly preserving a past.
Cont. from below... Personally, I would love to see it maintained as a schoolâ??perhaps with an International Baccalaureate program, as one astute preservationist has pointed outâ??however, the bright loftiness of the classrooms must obviously be a distraction to the neo-Progressive technology-worshiping knowledge-poor pedagogues of today; even if full modernization were to be done inside, they'd have no use for it. My feeling is that If BISD doesn't want to consider history and heritage in its bond-driven panic to keep residents in town (and obliterate the remnants of old SPISD), then they should build McSchool South on other property that they already own, leaving landmark South Park to stand for posterity and preservation.
07/06/2009 11:12 PM CDT
Bystander, the entire building is worth saving, to my mind. Its value is as an early 20th-century educational structure, not simply a set of stairs. The beautiful materials; now-extinct craftsmanship; fine, intimate auditorium; great expanse of windows; and high-ceiling-ed classrooms are all relevant (although the black, ugly windows are not original and should be replaced). That said, if the building is preserved with another purpose, those undertaking the project would pay for renovation and upkeep. Inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, for which South Park is eligible, would benefit the preservation in many ways through grants and tax breaks that would allow the iconic building to live on. Whether it would suffice as a museum or library, I cannot say. It could house an amazing office complex, artistsâ?? studios, perhaps even lofts...maybe all these things. The lovely auditorium might serve as a small performing arts center that would benefit the district, the community, and Beaumont as a whole. (cont. above, maybe)
07/06/2009 09:38 PM CDT
Sherry Sharp wrote:
Break it into parts, Mamagistra. It appears it doesn't like near full capacity -- or maybe it counts characters like the BISD counts petitions! :))
07/06/2009 09:38 PM CDT
Sherry Sharp wrote:
Part 2 to my response to Interested Bystander: Fourth, this is a sham from BISD that the school is not worth saving. Read the engineering report. No study was done as to cost effectiveness. Tearing down a solid structure that has withstood neglect, storms, the Great Depression only to rebuild a tin can like what is now the Pietzsch-MacArthur school that will be falling apart in 15-20 years is absolute lunacy. Fifth, this is my opinion - it should NOT be used as a museum. I agree, nobody cares or would go. A school is its highest and best use. They do not need to pad pockets with this extremely wasteful endeavor of demolishing and rebuilding what will need to be rebuilt in a decade or two at most.
07/06/2009 09:36 PM CDT
Sherry Sharp wrote:
I too tried to answer hours ago, Interested Bystander. But it never posted. Granted, my message was close to the word limit, so maybe there was a technical problem. I'll divide it. This is Part 1. First, the entire building represents the history of a community. That community began even before the turn of the century and gave birth to Spindletop, Lamar, and, indeed, contributed to the establishment of the town of Beaumont. To denigrate its stature as to the esthetics of just the stairs, well, that's giving no respect for what's history or heritage of a town. What is the value of any historical building anywhere? Second, all the landmarks from that established community have been either destroyed or left to rot way. All the landmarks are gone, one by one. The community has been left to neglect and crime and no efforts have been made entice commerce to locate there to serve residents. Residents are forced to drive to west-end to shop. Money could be much better spent to make it a more desirable community than this outrage. Third, BISD says those petitions were "mostly" from outside Beaumont. Itâ??s a lie! I know. I helped collect them. They never looked at those petitions, or they would know. Compare the vast majority of 3,000 to the "vast majority of 300" they say were at the meeting. And what does arithmetic tell you? (Reasons 4 and 5 will be posted separately -- if allowed)
07/06/2009 09:34 PM CDT
I keep trying to answer you, Bystander, but my posts won't stick. Trying again...
07/06/2009 08:55 PM CDT
Correcting my post below: "Renovating the old school for more than it would cost to build a new one not only makes no economic sense, but as disturbingly, does not make educational sense." Do some digging, please, and take note of the fact that the BISD never DID a cost analysis on renovation versus building new. Where are the figures that show it would cost LESS to build new? Show us: report it! Call Dr. Thomas and the whole band of merry deceivers out on this charade. Tell the truth!
07/06/2009 04:16 PM CDT
Interested Bystander wrote:
I would like to ask an honest question without the wrath of the Greenies. Besides the beautiful stairway leading into the school what parts of the school are of historical worth? If the building is made into a library, museum, etc. who would pay for its renovations and upkeep? How many people would actually visit said museum or library. Again, these are honest questions that I would like answered without dodging hostile fire.
07/06/2009 01:32 PM CDT
Lou Buxton wrote:
As a 1965 graduate of SPHS, I've been following this story since the beginning. I'm having a bit of a problem finding out why there's so much hostility over what's by all definitions "Historical Building" status?! Additionally, I've read so many hate filled words that are foreign to this project and to me. Seems the definitions of some of the writers are far different than what I was taught when my family was in South Park. For instance, "race" was something we did on the track during gym class or during a Track Meet. "Class" was whatever the subject was that was being taught in your school room. How in this wide world have we come to a place where people are more concerned about throwing darts at each other than standing for what's right??! As for BISD, it appears that they've broken the promises they gave to the Petitioners who tried to speak at several of their meetings. Guess I just expected adults to be adults and not act like "Bullies" who could do whatever they wanted at the expense of others. Harmony and History go hand in hand, but you'd never know it by watching this event unfold. If we don't save our History, why teach it in any "building" of higher learning? Sorta seems a bit absurd, doesn't it? Can't have one without the other. Well, unless you happen to be the people in charge of this project. Seems they can do whatever they want without the least bit of concern for the community as a whole. They simply 'tuck away' the wants of the people and move on to the 'wants' of themselves. It's so sad to see a perfectly wonderful community turning on its own and joining with a group of people who do not have the best interest of the community or its children at the fore. As for the accusation of "whining", I find that to be a simple case of "I don't care", from whomever wrote it. If some of us didn't care, there wouldn't be anything older than a year old left standing anywhere! Let's join hands instead of slapping each other. That building has lots to teach yet.
07/05/2009 11:50 PM CDT
"Renovating the old school for more than it would cost to build a new one not only makes no economic sense, but as disturbingly, does not make educational sense." Do some digging, please, and take note of the fact that the BISD never DID a cost analysis on renovation versus building new. Where are the figures that show it would cost more to build new? Show us: report it! Call Dr. Thomas and the whole band of merry deceivers out on this charade. Tell the truth!
07/05/2009 05:04 PM CDT
HOW COME NO ONE AT THE ENTERPRISE IS REPORTING ON THIS?!???
07/05/2009 03:08 PM CDT
The only taxpayer monies that will be eaten up are those that will be spent to demolish and shoddily rebuild a McSchool instead of to upgrade an historic landmark that is sturdy and safe. Where is the outrage for a school district that has allowed the majority of its structures to fall into disrepair? That is the poorest stewardship of all! The South Park building is an asset for the entire city, not just alumni and neighborhood folks. Nota Bene: The Enterprise should refrain from Greenie-baiting and focus on the benefit that historical preservation has for the whole of Beaumont. A little research in the realm of news writing wouldn't hurt either. The Enterprise continues to send ONE reporter to cover this issue, and this ONE reporter relies on said reporter's OWN previously (and sometimes erroneously) reported stories as background to the entire controversy INSTEAD of fact-checking, reading engineering reports, using archival stories, etc. To the lay-journalist, it certainly seems as though an agenda lurks beneath the mantle of truth that this publication is purported to uphold. You Opinion staffers can emote and grumble all you like whilst barking and sneering at the straw man in green and white. You editors and reporters, however, need to seek the truth, no matter the cost.
07/05/2009 02:14 PM CDT
Well, seeing this headline, I expected to get really mad - but as I began reading, I had to laugh out loud at the audacious, outrageous misconceptions of the ONE BISD official said! I suppose that one speaks for all. And to imagine, that's our educators.
1. taxpayers' money eaten up by will of few -- when did "almost 300" become the majority of the vast majority of 3,000? And they teach math?
2. concerns beyond financial -- laughable! what concerns -- power, vendetta? This has nothing to do with education.
3. dragged on long enough -- if BISD/city officials had listened to the people in the first place, we all wouldn't be in this mess - not to mention a really bad idea to begin with.
4. makes no economic sense - oh, good one! That building could be made into a showplace at a fraction of what is being spent of Taxpayers dollars they seem to be worried about!
5. Education sense? New bricks on the wall won't fix the bricks between your ears. Try teaching the kids a little integrity and respect for history and a value for being honest!
6. "Honor old buildings" who in their right mind thinks anything will be done to honor SP. There's been nothing but disrespect from BISD ever since BISD's neck was saved by South Park. "Save the facade" -- by imploding? Please. don't embarrass yourself.
7. The biggest laugh of all -- belly laugh -- ""expect BISD to be stewards of their tax dollars" -- oh, that is really, really rich! I'll tell you what we expect BISD to be stewards of besides the obvious of a good education. We entrusted our valued buildings to their ??stewardship? to be maintained and our kids to be kept safe. They did neither. There's more character in that building than in any of your little fingers. But then maybe that's why you want to blow it up. Now I'm mad again. I'm so very, very mad!! By the way, Enterprise -- your prejudice is showing!
07/05/2009 10:18 AM CDT
So the Enterprise has no interest in the preservation of historic buildings? And no one in the community has any interest in saving the building other than former South Park graduates or former residents? It seems unlikely that either are true. What seems more likely is that many see this as their chance to put an end to anything that carries the name South Park. What seems assured is that the Enterprise sensing this is writing the story using the pro/anti South Park discourse. It's too bad that all of Beaumont cannot get beyond this in order to save a truly historic structure and find alternate uses for it.
07/05/2009 09:39 AM CDT