District 95 launches website for people to share memories of old May Whitney building
Because of the strong response from the hundreds of community members who recently toured the old May Whitney Elementary School -- set for demolition early next year -- district officials have launched an online site where people can share their memories for preservation.
The building at 100 Church St. has had many incarnations over the years: Ela Township High School, Ela-Vernon High School, Lake Zurich High School, Lake Zurich Junior High School, Lake Zurich Middle School North and, finally, May Whitney Elementary.
Jean Malek, the executive director of communications for Lake Zurich Area Unit District 95, said nearly 500 people toured the building last month. After hearing all the wonderful personal stories during the tours, she and Superintendent Kelley Gallt came up with the idea to have people share them online. The website uses a similar format the district used recently for capturing messages of appreciation from the community to the district staff during the pandemic.
"The stories were really interesting, but at their core -- regardless of the generation -- they were about friendships, shared experiences and great times," Malek said last month. "People were very grateful to have one last opportunity to see their school and often came together with friends."
Malek said in the coming months the staff will also publish photos and videos of the building before it is torn down.
Last month, District 95 leaders agreed to spend about $937,000 to tear down the building. Work began last Monday on abating asbestos in the building.
Once the asbestos is removed, fire and police departments will be given an opportunity to use the building for training exercises, officials say, and the demolition is scheduled to begin in late January or early February.
After the building is razed, district officials plan to offer bricks for sale. Details on the sale are forthcoming.
In place of the building, the district will expand the parking lot and add a new play field for students at the new, $43.4 million May Whitney Elementary, which opened next door at the start of the current school year.
To preserve a memory from your time at the building or to view what has been shared so far, visit padlet.com/District95_Communications/b7k1hseacawa9jis.