Esther Larson has walked the halls of Lebanon’s Berry school for decades — as a student, graduate, parent, teacher and school board member.
She will return to the school Sunday, Nov. 6, during an “Until We Meet Again” open house for past students, staff and community members to view the building one last time before it is renovated and expanded.
The iconic building, which opened in 1930 and currently serves as an intermediate school, will be upgraded to provide more modern learning environments while preserving the history of the school.
“The preservation and renovation is very personal to me besides being a school board member and having taught in that building for 10 years,” Larson said. “Those halls have echoed with footsteps of four generations of my family: from my dad, Harold Banta, through me, my children, several of my grandchildren and, in a few years, my great-grandsons. There are many families in this community with the same school heritage. This building represents the core of our educational community, and the memories of time spent there are deep in our hearts.”
The open house will be a casual event held from 1:30-3:30 p.m., in which attendees can relive old memories by walking through classrooms, stopping at selfie stations, sharing memories and browsing memorabilia like old yearbooks, blueprints and video clips.
“Berry is an icon. Having been a high school, junior high, middle school and intermediate school, it is the building that many family members can all say they attended. Berry has been in Hollywood movies. It sits back on the hill, making a statement to the rest of the community. It could be considered the flagship of the district,” said Beth Kletzly, Berry Intermediate School Principal. “Generations of families have sent students to this school. I can only imagine that tens of thousands of students have walked these halls.”
Renovations at the school for fifth- and sixth-graders will include new heating, lighting, technology, flooring, ceilings, furniture and air conditioning. The outdated industrial arts area will be demolished, and a 1,500-square-foot addition will be built.
“The facade of Berry will remain very much the same with its brick structure and beautiful front lawn,” Kletzly explained. “The classrooms inside will be updated and modernized with a nod to its original beginnings. A cafetorium will be created, as well as a large learning space that will allow for group exploration, research and student-centered learning.”
Work is expected to begin in January 2017 and be completed for the 2018-19 school year. Funds from the project will come from a bond issue passed in November 2013.
How to go
What: “Until We Meet Again” open house
When: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6
Where: Berry Intermediate School, 23 Oakwood St., Lebanon
Details: Former students, staff and community members are invited to tour the school, stop at selfie stations, share memories and browse memorabilia before Berry Intermediate School is renovated and expanded.
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