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Coultrap's mementos for sale at auction

Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013 7:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 15, 2013 9:27 a.m. CDT

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GENEVA – A silent auction of Coultrap artifacts in Geneva drew about 150 people during the all-day event Saturday.

The public perused everything from overhead projectors and pencil sharpeners, old clocks and lockers, carts with wheels for film projectors, students' and teachers' desks, book cases, doors and railings.

The 1923-built school will be demolished and officials wanted to give the community a chance to buy the items. The silent auction continues from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday at the now closed school, 1113 Peyton St.

Geneva 304 Director of Facility Operations Scott Ney said the district will also sell commemorative bricks, as many of those looking through the building just want a small memento.

Ney said the bricks would have plaques with 1923-2013 of the years Coultrap was built on them.

"Those are going to be [available] at a later date, probably mid-June," Ney said.

The district hopes to raise $10,000 to $15,000, Ney said, which will go towards the demolition cost, estimated at $862,000. Renovation and repair estimates of $2.3 million to $4.3 million were deemed too expensive, so officials decided tearing the school down was cheaper.

Audrey Bridges, who worked as an aide in a first-grade classroom at Coultrap, said she put a bid on her old desk.

"I want to take it home and I'm going to use it at my house," Bridges said. "I have a lot of memories, walking up and down this hall every day. I got close to the kids that I worked with here."

Ron Stevenson of Geneva said he could not decide what he wanted from the silent auction.

"It's overwhelming," Stevenson said. "You'd have a hard time making a decision if you want something. And I'm at a stage in life where I'm not accumulating. I'm dis-accumulating. The only thing I would take home would be some cabinets, some storage lockers for my garage."

Ann Kammerer, daughter of former Kane County Board chairman Warren Kammerer, drove down from Wauwatosa, Wis., where she lives now, to walk through her old junior high.

"It's so sad they're going to tear it down," Kammerer said. "I remember junior high was such a scary time. The girls could be catty and you're still kind of afraid of the guys."

The building was named for Harry Coultrap, who was the district's first superintendent in 1912. His grandson, Paul Coultrap, of Downers Grove, also toured the building early Saturday.

"I enjoyed walking through the building, especially a building my grandfather helped build," Coultrap said later about the tour. "Obviously, I'm pretty sad to see it's going down. It's just sad that they can't save it."

Coultrap said his grandparents lived across the street from the school.

"My grandfather died in 1963 when I was 5 and my grandmother lived there," Coultrap said. "I always wonderful memories of visiting Geneva."

Harry Coultrap was a teacher in Elgin and took the train into Geneva with his wife, when he was offered the job as superintendent, Coultrap said.

"They found a church and had a picnic lunch on courthouse stairs, and decided this is a place where [they] wanted to be," Coultrap said. "Geneva has meant a lot to my family. It was where my dad was raised … I'm sad [the school] can't be utilized … I'm sad it's being torn down."

Coultrap said the old school that bears his grandfather's name served the Geneva community well, as a high school, junior high, middle school and grade school.

"My grandpa would be very proud of what has transpired in that building in the years since he left," Coultrap said.

According to a tentative timeline, the school board is expected to open demolition bids at its April 22 meeting with complete demolition expected by August, once all the permits are secured and any hazardous materials are removed.

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