Laurel District School Superintendent Shawn Larrimore presented a resolution at the monthly school board meeting to set aside $1.5 million dollars to preserve the exterior of the 1921 former High School Building which was approved by all 5 members of the board.
The remaining funds that were originally allocated to preserving the ’21 building as incorporated in the school referendum will be diverted to construction and renovation of the North Laurel School. The resolution will be presented to the General Assembly for approval. It will be co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Dukes and Sen. Bryant Richardson. The resolution has the blessing of DOE.
The compromise was brought about through Larrimore’s suggestion he had a solution he thought would be a win-win for the district to save the ’21 building and to move forward with the extra savings to complete the building program which will include monies for 5 grades in the New Elementary School. .
Mayor John Shwed then formed a committee to meet with Larrimore which included; Former State Senators David Elliott and Robert Venables, Dukes and Richardson, Madeline Dunn of the State Preservation Office, and Frank Calio.
The bone of contention was Venables had put in the bond bill over $3 million for the exterior preservation of the ’21 building based on estimates he received. Larrimore thought it could be done for $1.5. He was asked to get a firm estimate.
His estimate from Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. the General Contractor for the school construction came in at $1,469,089.50. I asked if the school board would agree; Larrimore said they would back his proposal, and they did.
The Laurel Alumni , State Preservation Office, and The Laurel Historical Society have been strong supporters in saving the building.
It’s so refreshing to find a person who finally was true to his word. Thanks Mr. Larrimore!!!
Once the building is secured on the exterior, the district will look for ways to use the building. One suggestion was to turn it into a trade school.