I don’t have the facts, but I have just received an email from Doug Marvil, President of the Laurel historical Society that State Senator Robert Venables, (D) Laurel, former alumni of Laurel, and chairman of the State’s Bond Committee that the controversial 1921 building will be restored in “its entirety and preserved”!!!!

Another example of seniority and the importance of being a committee chairman on an important committee.

Apparently the school administration and the engineers have “found” another location where the elementary school can be located on the same grounds. How about that, when a state senator speaks, people listen.

Earlier when Laurel was facing financial ruin, Venables came up with several hundred thousands of dollars to help bail out the school.

SUDDENLY like the N Laurel school which wasn’t worth rehabbing and now is, will be joined by the 1921 building that wasn’t worth rehabbing and is now.



  1. He found the funding? If the state properly funded the school system there wouldn’t be a need for a politician to “find” money in an election year.

    • Roy I know how you feel and others with you, but unfortunately and I’m not saying this is right, but at this time of the year legislators are trading off favors in return for their favorite projects; alka Pork Barrel. Again, right or wrong, if that money didn’t come to Laurel, and I’m sure Venables had to deal for that money, it would have gone north of the canal. For three years I tried to get the state to give me $75,000 for a generator at the Industrial Park in Georgetown to supplement the water system should their be a fire; to protect millions of dollars in property. Once I was turned down in favor of $1 million to Frawley Stadium; next year turned down again in favor of $1 million to the City of Wilmington for an Olympic sized swimming pool. Year 3 the governor and I had lunch and I got my money. “He found money” is a nice way of saying he played the game.
      Delaware by the way is 50th when it comes to receiving federal money; the other 49 are getting our share.

  2. Let me start with saying I am glad that the school is being saved.

    Why did Sen Venables have to find the money to save the school? Is it because the ——-(left blank for your own descriptive adjective) school board members who were elected by the people did not listen to the people. This money could of been used by Laurel for much more needed improvements to the town to bring businesses to our town. This should piss everyone who pays Laurel School Taxes, now the smug a____les on the school board are just laughing, going see I told you we could get away with it. What should one expect when there is already one known thief on the board.

    • Dy afraid you may have some valid points there; appears everyone is a winner, those who wanted the stadium and those who wanted the school saved. But the scars from the non-support of the school board and supt. will not be forgotten. If they think this effort by the senator gets them off the hook and they think they can swing a referendum for operating expenses then they are what you called them. They get away with nothing, they will be buried with debt trying to operate the new schools. After awhile even the good senator is going to have to say enough is enough. Like giving a kid everything he wants; he never grows up, let him fall on his face and he either grows up or drowns.

  3. Just to set the record straight before it gets too out of hand, Sen. Venables did NOT find any new monies. Nor did he have to make any deals to accomplish this. I am certain the full story will come out soon. Thank you for reporting on this though Mr. Calio. I know it will bring comfort to many in the Laurel School District.

  4. Trying to save a school that is in such bad shape the general public have not a clue it is not replacing windows and everything is ok the building is cracked and settled beyond belief and after the earthquake is even worse,the floors on the second floor are wood and are sunken and that’s just a beginning so sad to save a school and the rest of the main street is torn down the priorites are surely not for the best.And I am sorry I cant help how many graduated from this school!

    • Tim on a smaller scale, two years ago the back wall of my 2-storied store uptown of my 100 year old building was on the verge of collapsing. The foundation sank 6″. I had contractors jack up the building, put in new 6X6 posts buried in concrete at a cost of $25,000. The school of course is a much larger project, but the concept is still the same. My building can go for another 100 years. I saved an old building. The old BATA building just demolished had the same problem, but the LRC decided not to spend the money to rehab. The school can be rehabbed, you will be pleasantly surprised. The engineers at our meetings of course presented the worst scenario to back up the superintendent who is spaying their salaries with our money.

      • Money or no money, after being at the last public meeting I believe Mr. Ewald is set on demolishing the 1921 building against the public’s will. The five blind mice will follow his lead. There have been other school districts that have save all or part of their old “Dupont” schools when building new schools. It’s mather of priorities. Being in charge of new construction looks better on a resume than remodeling an old building. I believe he is more concern of his future than he is of the future of this town’s schools.

  5. Curious turn of events. Interested to see/hear what comes next.

    @Herman There was another superintendent that thought they could do/say what they wanted. Where are they now? Just sayin…

    • Herman if this ‘suggestion’ had not come from a State Senator who chairs the bond committee I’d say you were probably right. But I imagine after a call from the Senator, Ewald was falling all over himself to find a new placement of the elementary school. He might even try to take credit for the idea. Remember Herman, Venables bailed the school with over $200,000 cash infusion.

  6. Originally stated before the referendum, the new administration building that would include all staff, directors like Human Resources, Finance, Maintenance Supervisor, Transportation Supervisor, etc, and meeting rooms for organizations in the community to use. But with this crowd who the hell knows what they’ll do with it.

    • According to a school board member they were going to use North Laurel as the administration building. The whole school was going to be left open, heated, & cooled just for them. That’s a brilliant waste of money right there. Now, if they save the middle school(Old LHS) for that purpose then what will they do with North Laurel?

      If you want to be a good liar, you’ve got to have a stellar memory. Our school board members memories must not be that great. It’s ok because we have folks like Frank that, like an elephant, never forgets. =)

  7. I read an article from the State of Delaware and apparently the outside of the building will be refurbished and the inside will be done at a later date when funds are available. Or at least that’s how I understood the article.

  8. Venables claimed credit for saving the building but the decision was made during a meeting of representatives from several state organizations. But the others are not running for office. At this time no money is being provided by anyone, they are just not demolishing part of the building, which was part of the plan that was approved by the citizens during the referendum. At some point money may be provided to refurbish the building, maybe a week or so before the election.

  9. Roy, just a few questions for you. Who do you think arranged the meeting? Actually when did you HEAR Senator Venables claim credit for saving the building? Who else could have done it? You? The voters of Laurel? As I recall, they were told it was going to be torn down, even though they voted otherwise. Did you prefer that the 1921 building be torn down instead of following the voters’ referendum decision? And to claim that Senator Venables did this to win votes? Wow! You need to introduce yourself to him as you obviously do not know the man. He is one of few remaining statesmen. Yes, his position enabled him to arrange for the right people to attend the meeting, the ones needed to ensure that the people of Laurel were able to have their votes count. He did not do it for selfish reasons as you suggest. He did it for the right and just reasons. When he leaves office though, you can bet your sweet bottom dollar there won’t be much to benefit Laurel or Sussex County any longer. It’s all gonna go north. I feel very blessed in knowing that he represents me and is willing to stand up for those of us in the 21st District.

    • well put, bonnie. i know u must feel better.
      he’s been a faithful servant, and has done much for this lower part of the state. it seems politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don’t in an election year. there are many politicians that would cause me to share roy’s suspicions, but not this one. and if one happens to support the premise of voting in a democratic way (which either one of them should), all the better.

      • Actually it was determined by the voters via referendum. There is no new funding. The people voted for the 1921 building to be saved by selected sections. Senator Venables listened and he heard the people saying they wanted the 1921 building to be saved. This was how the referendum that was passed read:

        “Selective Demolition of the Existing Middle School, including but not limited to the Field House, and Selective Renovation of Remaining School Facilites (C.N. 1216 F)** Planning, abatement, engineering, and selective demolition of the existing Laurel Middle School to include but not limited to the Field House and selective renovation of remaining school facilities.” $3,168,200

        Note usage of the word “Selective” multiple times.

        Please contact Senator Venables for all the details. You know Senator Venables will be forthright. Actually, I am in shock that all the buzz is still going around without the local paper or bloggers going straight to the one person who can give the true answers. He can explain exactly what transpired. That is much better than getting it second hand from me. All I know is the referendum must be followed. The selective demolition monies are the monies which are going to be used as was directed by the voters. Senator Venables would be happy to share the actual facts with anyone who asks him. He is always straightforward and upfront. Representative Dukes was in attendance at the meeting as well and would be willing to share with anyone also. It should be noted that Becker Morgan representatives were at the meeting too. One came to the Senator after the meeting and said he was glad that he was able to accomplish this.

        For clarification:
        ** CN = Certificate of Neccessity
        C.N. 1116 F (middle school conversion into district offices and a learning resource center) rewritten as C.N. 1216 F for the selective demolition and renovation of remaining school facilities (demolition includes but is not limited to the Field House).

        Link to the August 25, 2010 Major Capitol Improvement Plan Special Laurel School Board Meeting shows the above mentioned C.N. 1216 F: (see Page 5)

        The Senate Communications Department wrote an article at my request. That is the article of which I was speaking about on May 5th. It was submitted to the Laurel Star and appeared on the front page the week of May 8th.

        Again, please contact Senator Venables or Representative Dukes to get all the details.

        Thank you.

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