October 13, 2005
In Columbia County, the Board of Education is fighting to save a piece of local history. Evans Middle School is over capacity and the current building will be demolished.
The arch is a landmark that has stood on North Belair Road for over half a century. It is the only survivor of a fire back in the fifties. The arch and columns have been with Evans Middle School since its for about seventy years. But if they don’t find a new home, they will be demolished right along with the old building.
Secretary Peggy Stewart started first grade here, the first year it opened.
“When we started, the community was small and everybody knew everybody,” Stewart said.
Her home was in the school’s backyard. The original school was built in the late twenties. Its original two wings have changed a lot. One of the main hallways and the area by the office used to be outdoors. And the library was added on in the nineties.
Librarian Anna Oliff knows the move is necessary since the school is over capacity by about 200 students.
“Just looking back through some old yearbooks, when you think about it, this was the center of the community,” said Oliff.
The construction site will soon be the new Evans Middle School. And right now, they’re set to open by next school year. Also, right next door is the new administration building.
The construction on Hereford Farm Road has to be done by then, because the old building has been sold to developers. Everyone has to be gone after the last day of school.
“We’ve just trying to preserve a piece of history so it can be appreciated by the next generation,” said Principal Michael Johnson.
Principal Michael Johnson is trying to raise money to relocate the arch.
“We need a new school real bad, but when that day comes, it’s gonna be sad,” Stewart said.
For Peggy Stewart, saving the landmark will save a piece of her past.
The Board of Education will move it, but they have not decided where. They are putting together a committee of former students and interested citizens to make the decision and to raise money.
If you want to help out or make any suggestions, visit ccboe.net and click on “Contact Us.”