In this year of anniversaries for the Carthage schools, Fairview Elementary students and staff are taking their turn this weekend to look back on 50 years since their school was built, and look forward to a future of change and promise.
“A 50th Anniversary only happens once in a lifetime, and looking back in the archive of newspaper articles, it's interesting to read the excitement the community had with the opening of a new school in 1968,” said Fairview Principal Ronna Patterson. “It was a source of community pride and a source of community accomplishment to build this state of the art school and the Board of Education at the time was delighted to let the community in and see this building.
“Fast forward 50 years and the school is still a source of community pride as we carry on the tradition of educating children to meet their future.”
The Fairview Elementary School that now sits at 1201 E. Fairview Ave. looks quite different from the school that was dedicated on March 24, 1968, after about a year of construction.
The district has added to the building at least four times, the latest being a tornado safe room that doubles as classroom space.
Newspaper articles say plans were ordered for a new school at the corner of Fairview and Pearl in November 1966. Those plans included six to eight classrooms, a multipurpose room and office space, “with provisions for future expansion,” according to a Nov. 15, 1966 Carthage Press article.
The cost was expected to be around $200,000.
Construction began in February 1967, and the building was put to use in September, 1967.
The district accepted the building from the builder, M-P Construction, in December 1967 for a total final cost of $259,251.23, but there was still work to be done because the cafeteria was not part of that contract and still had to be completed.
The Carthage Evening Press, as it was called at the time, published a special edition on March 22, 1968 celebrating the dedication of Fairview school on Sunday, March 23, 1968. Also held that day were open houses at all the district's schools.
Patterson said celebrating that history is essential to getting a perspective on where the school is going in the future.
“We celebrate our history, we celebrate our accomplishments, and then of course, we plan for a future of great opportunity at Fairview to support children from many different cultures and backgrounds,” Patterson said. “We look back with gratitude at the vision that the district had in planning for the future. Without that planning and vision, we wouldn't be where we are today.”
Fairview's 50th Anniversary celebration will take place over two days, with students celebrating on Friday, March 9.
The public is invited to a community event at Fairview schools from 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, March 11.