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The "Old School" is Disappearing in WY...Literally

December 5, 2006

Cheyenne, WY - Tear 'em down and move 'em out? Older schools around the state are being bulldozed to make way for new facilities, and some say the result isn't pleasing.

Mary Humstone with the University of Wyoming American Studies Program thinks "new" isn't always better when it comes to architectural value and how buildings fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.

"If you've seen some of the current school designs...I hate to say this, but their similarity to prisons is really kind-of distressing."

Humstone thinks in many cases it would be cheaper to update the existing buildings, but the state encourages new construction. She points to the elementary school in the small town of Lingle as a good example of the "demolition philosophy" for schools right now. She says it's the defining feature of one of the town's main streets.

"At the very end of the street, right in the center, is this art deco-style building. The current plans call for that to be a parking lot."

Humstone says it's possible for citizens to fight back, however. In Lingle, residents complained and are now working on an alternative construction plan.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY