The elementary school I attended, a beautiful building that looks like a castle, is currently undergoing renovations. I wrote about it once before, back in April, and shared some photos of the destruction. I was worried that their interior renovations were damaging some of James Monroe School’s character.
I was in South Bend over Thanksgiving and walked to the school to check progress. Since my last visit, No Trespassing signs have been liberally posted. Sometimes I wish I had either a little more guts or a little less sense of right and wrong, because I really wanted to see inside. But out of cowardice or prudence, take your pick, I photographed only from the street.
The new driveway looks to be in place. I’m guessing it will be used for school buses and parent drop-off and pick-up.
Two of the exterior’s best features have been its slate roof and copper gutters and downpouts. Those downspouts were frequent targets for thieves. I took a good long look, because I didn’t expect to see either of them again.
But when I walked around the building, I was delighted to see that copper gutters (or at least copper-like gutters) were being installed! Of course, the slate shingles were being replaced with asphalt shingles. I knew it would have to be, as I’m sure a new slate roof would cost many millions of dollars, but I was still disappointed. I wonder, though, how the South Bend school system afforded that roof when the building was new.
A large new addition has taken shape where the school’s playground used to be. Playground equipment used to stand here, a few pieces of which endured from 1974 when the PTA donated it. I got to go with the PTA to play-test playground equipment all over the city that year as part of the selection process! Also gone is the cast-iron basketball pole into which my brother slid hard one icy day in 1975, turning his face into hamburger. Sniff, the memories.
Here’s another view of the new addition. The school’s previous addition, from the 1960s, is behind it. It looks like a decent-sized new parking lot is being added here, too, which I imagine teachers will welcome. When I was first a student here, all teachers had to park on the street. A small lot was added a few years later, but it wasn’t nearly big enough.
I hope they have an open house after the renovations are complete. If they do, you’d better believe I’ll be there.
Read about how my first walk to this school parallels my walk in faith.