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Vinton residents angered by demolition of old gym

Last Modified: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 7:05 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

Shannon Amy, a Vinton resident, said she can remember the sounds the old elementary school gym floor made and how the building smelled.

“It’s like when you open an old book and it has that smell to it,” Amy said. “It brings back all the memories you had there of your school days.”

Demolition on the Vinton Elementary gym began this week after a bond issue that was passed on April 6. Residents in Bond District 26 approved the 20-year, $10 million bond issue, which increased homeowners’ property tax rate from 14.14 mills to 30.14 mills.

For some residents, watching the gym come down was a sad day they won’t soon forget.

“I went to school there, my parents went to school there, my grandparents went to school there, and there are so many other people that have that same story,” Amy said. “There’s a lot of nostalgia there.”

Amy said she can remember her fifth-grade classroom being in the gym and all the programs that were held in it.

“It’s a sad day because Vinton doesn’t really have many historical buildings left,” she said. “Most of Main Street has been torn down or refaced. There wasn’t much left that was the original other than the gym.”

Part of the $10 million bond issue allowed for a new multipurpose center to replace the gym, which didn’t have air conditioning. District 11 School Board member Chad Guidry said the building needed to be brought up to fire code, be air conditioned and undergo other renovations. All of that would have cost about $1.25 million, but for $250,000 more a new facility could be built, he said.

Sheila Guidry, a Vinton resident, said she grew up two houses down from Vinton Elementary and that the gym holds a lot of family history for her.

“My dad would have been 69 this year, and he went to school there and played there as a kid,” she said. “That gym was probably the biggest piece of history in our whole town.”

Amy and Guidry both said they understand that the structure needed to be brought up to code but that all the memories from the old gym make its demolition “a sad day.”

The new multipurpose center will include a covered play court; a covered loading and unloading area for students; and paved parking.

Posted By: Terri McLeod On: 7/5/2013

Title: the old gym

will there new 250,000 multipurpose center last as long as that old gym did or hold the memories it did. Rest in peace

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