Coultrap school tour a hit with teachers, students
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A tour of the soon-to-be-demolished Coultrap Elementary School brought up memories, fond and otherwise, last week in Geneva.
About 40 people roamed the hallways of the school, the first part of which opened as the new Geneva High School in 1923.
"I had to come here because we could say, 'The building served its purpose, and it's time to let it go,' " said Christine Sines, who taught middle school and junior high school at Coultrap for 22 years.
Last Friday was the first of two walk-throughs for the public, and the second will be conducted Saturday morning.
Former teachers pointed out the classrooms in which they taught, and reminisced about co-workers, including those they feared.
"In-school suspension was that desk," said former student Ian Woodhouse, pointing to where he spent time in the administrative offices when he attended Coultrap Middle School from 1988 to 1990.
He toured the building with a group of friends; they recalled high jinks that included dropping items out of a third-floor window.
And then they bumped in to Sines, who recognized Woodhouse despite his beard.
"I never thought you would grow up to be so big," Sines said as she hugged Woodhouse. "You were a handful."
Geneva History Center educator Mary Dolan said Coultrap, 1113 Peyton St., was built in 1922 at a cost of $205,000 and the first students graduated in 1924.
Scott Ney, the school district's facilities operations director, dispelled rumors that there is a tunnel between Coultrap and the high school next door. But he confirmed the presence of a back staircase off the second-floor classroom in the 1942 shop-room addition. The building was also enlarged in 1958, 1968 and 1974. It was remodeled in the mid-1990s when it was turned in to an elementary school. Stickers bearing elementary students' names are still affixed to coat hook racks.
The district expects to begin removing any asbestos-containing materials in May, and plans to start demolishing the building in June.
The school board's facility committee Monday will set the date for sales of fixtures and furnishings; they will likely be in the second or third weeks of April, Ney said. Money raised will help pay for the demolition.
The next walk-through is at 10 a.m. Saturday. Sign up by calling Cookie Olson at (630) 463-3020. Large groups can tour the building by appointment.
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