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Preservationists ask to salvage items from Coultrap

GENEVA – Geneva School District 304 board officials were receptive to hearing about proposals from a resident regarding the safeguarding and preservation of salvageable materials from the Coultrap facility.

The board voted to raze the old school, which opened in 1923, because it is too expensive to maintain. Coultrap has served as high school, junior high, middle and elementary school. It was closed as an attendance center in 2009.

Colin and Glorianne Campbell had first spoken out against demolishing the school. But this week, Colin Campbell asked board members to consider forming a committee to create a list of things to be salvaged.

School board members said they were interested in more information.

Campbell proposed forming a committee including school board members, the Geneva History Center and the community “to go through the building in great detail and salvage everything that we can that might be a memento for the history center or whatever purpose we can salvage it. We don’t know yet.”

Campbell said the committee would take photos of everything, make a list and talk it over with school officials.

“And then – before they demolish it – take out everything we can,” Campbell said. “The second thing would be to build a permanent memorial on the property after the building comes down.”

The memorial would honor the Coultrap building and Geneva’s late superintendent, Harry Coultrap, for whom the building was named, Campbell said.

Over the Peyton Street entrance, cement blocks spell out “Coultrap Middle School.”

“Salvage the blocks that say ‘Coultrap School’ and use those, along with salvaged bricks, in a memorial,” Campbell said. “And have plaques on that to commemorate both the school and Harry Coultrap.”

The memorial would be structured on a diagonal on a corner of the property so it will not get in the way if officials want to rebuild or put in a parking lot, Campbell said.

Campbell also is requesting to work with the high school’s video class and use footage taken at Tuesday’s Memories of Coultrap program and create a 45-minute documentary.

“The kids could go through and video all the interior spaces, and then we could do cuts in and out of people talking about Coultrap,” Campbell said.

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