Saving the historic McCormick school building, alumni ask for help

Local

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – It was 131 years ago that the McCormick school opened its doors to teach elementary school students in Wichita. It has been owned by Wichita Public Schools the entire time, but no, the school district says it’s time to sell.

“The first girl I kissed was right over there when I was like in second grade,” said Jim Mason, alumni of McCormick Elementary, who attended the school 60 years ago.

Mason said the building has a lot of personal history.

“If you behaved yourself, you got to ring the school bell once a year,” he reminisced.

While the school stopped operating in 1992, the historic landmark has since been the site of the McCormick School Museum. Alumni keeping records on the history of the Wichita School District.

“Things are falling apart, and it’s costing more and more,” said Paul Oberg, the curator of the McCormick School Museum. Oberg said the building continues to need costly repairs.

In a statement, the Wichita School District said:

“In order to make necessary repairs and improvements to the building, we would have to invest $2 million. That type of investment is something that we simply can’t justify for a building that doesn’t accommodate students on a daily basis.”

“It really boils down to the choice between the building or the records and at least the records can be preserved for a longer period of time,” said Oberg.

The McCormick Museum Board will vote at the end of the month to move the museum to the Southeast High School building or find a way to repair and retain the building. That’s a memory Mason would like to keep alive.

“There are hundreds of people like me that are still living and paying attention to what is happening,” said Mason.

If you are interested in saving the historic building email cdavie@cox.net.

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