Letter: Preservation is not the opposite of progress

I’m writing about an educational and historical preservation issue.

Growing up, I attended Cedar Rapids public schools. After having instilled in me a passion for lifelong learning and pride in Iowa’s excellent public education record at a young age, I went on to complete degrees at the University of Iowa. I loved staying in Iowa, and returned home to Cedar Rapids to practice my profession. My family has lived here for generations.

As a young student, I felt “home” walking some of the same school hallways that my parents and grandparents had; it brings me joy to be part of this story. Feeling this connection makes me a better citizen. This is why I’m concerned about the Board of Education’s proposed plan to close the oldest of our elementary schools and build new, large elementary schools outside the neighborhoods I’ve inhabited with my family and friends.

These schools, to this day, play such an important role in shaping our city. If we need additional schools for an expanding student population, I would never stand against that progress. I just don’t agree that the only way to progress is to close the doors on the rich heritage we have, to send our students away from fixable, adaptable buildings that are uniquely built. These older buildings are filled with light, spacious rooms, craftsmanship, potential, and stories important to all of us. I’m worried that their elimination would teach the next generation the wrong lesson about true progress.

Nicole Halvorson

Cedar Rapids

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