Blanco ISD dedicated its newly renovated historical building in ceremonies held last Saturday. Approximately 300 people were in attendance.
“This building has seen its good times and bad times, but it has persevered” said Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford.
“These central exterior walls are original walls from the first 1884 school building. These walls on the east and west wings are original walls from the 1902 additions,” Ford continued.
“Opening this building to students will make this one of the oldest functioning school buildings in the state of Texas.”
The event kicked off at 5:00 PM, with introductory remarks by Dr. Ford and Board President Matt Herden.
Ford introduced members of the school board, and recognized the members of the BISD Citizens Advisory Committee.
Ford then recognized architect Randy Fromberg, and his associates Bob Shelton and Drew Cummings. “The architects did a wonderful job of coming up with this concept,” he said. Ford also announced that the project had just been named the recipient of the Value Award in the 2013 TASA/TASB architecture exhibition. He extended congratulations to Fromberg and his team for that achievement.
Vanguard Contractors was also recognized. “Vanguard worked closely alongside us to honor and respect the unique structures of the original building, and went over and beyond to stay true to its original character,” said Ford.
Board President Matt Herden related the events that led up to the renovation of the building, including a story about an unexpected visit by some local “old ladies” to a school board meeting.
“They showed up one night to a school board meeting, and said they were there because they heard we were going to bulldoze the old building down,” said Herden amid laughter from the crowd. “I told them we never were going to bulldoze the building down. But that just showed how special that building was to the community.”
Ford then spoke some words about Citizens Advisory Committee member Bernice West, a long time Blanco resident and local historian who passed away before seeing the building project completed.
“Her leadership, perseverance, and love for Blanco helped contribute to the success of the project that we see today,” said Ford. The east wing gallery of the historical building is named after her.
Awards were then presented.
Elizabeth Sorrell, 102 years young, received the “Oldest Graduate” award. She wore her 1930 graduation ring to the dedication.
Billy Harrell, a band director in the 1960s, received the award for “Oldest Teacher.” He is 75. “I’ve been keeping up with the Blanco band over the last few years,” said Harrell, who serves as the Region 12 UIL/TMEA executive secretary. “They have a great program.”
Longtime Blanco teacher Bill Spurgin was presented with the “Longest Tenured Teacher” award. He began teaching here in 1966, and is beginning his 48th year with the district.
The award honorees then cut a ceremonial blue ribbon, and rang the schoolhouse bell, and the doors of the historical building were opened.
In the front galleries were memorabilia associated with the history of Blanco Schools, along with historical photos and artifacts. Also on display in the gallery were the original school bell, and the 1902 cornerstone that marked the 1902 additions.
A time capsule was situated in the library for people to donate items to.
In addition to the gallery and library, the renovated historical building houses a computer lab, a science lab, and sixteen new classrooms.
“The exterior of the building may have walls from 1884,” said Ford, “but on the inside, it consists of the latest in technology and construction. It’s cutting edge and state of the art.”
Goldbeck Photography took a panoramic picture of all the Blanco High School alumni situated by the year that they graduated. Goldbeck also took a second panoramic picture of everyone who was in attendance.
Refreshments were served in the cafeteria.
“It was great to see all these alumni return to their roots and share their common experiences,” said Ford.
“The event was a tremendous success.”