Providing the space necessary for educating students, while at the same time, preserving landmarks that hold fond memories for many Plymouth residents, has taken a great deal of creativity.

The Plymouth School Board is moving forward with a nearly $50,000,000 building and renovation project that includes building a new junior high school. According to Plymouth Schools Superintendent, Daniel Tyree, planning for the project started in 2012. During a public hearing concerning the overall project, Tyree said they formed a focus group of stakeholders early in the planning stage to determine if it was possible to renovate the current junior high facility or if they needed to replace the structure. A similar group made up of former administrators worked on the details of the question. Both groups, along with Plymouth School Administrators and board members concurred that it would be cost efficient and practical to build a new structure.

The proposed new site for the school is where the LJH football field is located, just east of the current school.

However, understanding the feelings of the community on demolishing the entire building that now holds Lincoln Junior High and previously the high school became a consistent factor in designing.

After the hearing, Tyree said, “Over the last five years as I have been studying the PCSC (Plymouth Community School Corporation) facilities to develop a long range plan, people in Plymouth have been very outspoken about how important the face of Lincoln is.” Referring to the passion of many of the comments, Tyree said, “They have spoken almost in poetry citing the imagery of driving east of Garro Street and looking at the face of LJHS. If we made an attempt to tear it down, I believe we would divide the community.” “Saving the front section of Lincoln is a significant part of this project.”

During the hearing, Tyree offered some of the considerations for possible use of the portion being saved. Tyree indicated that they could keep the stage and auditorium area for several uses. He noted that there are not adequate facilities at Jefferson Elementary for performances and they could use the auditorium to meet that need. Other uses for the spaces on the first floor of the two-story section could be to house offices for support staffs such as JESSE and vocational directors who are currently in office space that is too small to fit their needs. While no decisions on what other staffs might move into the area, Tyree said they could fill all of the downstairs area. He also said there could be some type of cooperation with the Economic Development Corporation to have an entrepreneur hub on the second floor.

Other parts of the project would entail renovations at Plymouth High School, Washington Discovery Academy and Riverside Intermediate. All three would get some roofing repairs. PHS is slated for parking lot paving and some mechanical work for equipment that was referred to in the hearing as “nearing the end of life”. Additional renovation at Washington would be to enclose an open area for classrooms.

School Board members and Tyree said they would continue to receive comments and/or questions on the project by asking patrons to contact administrators at the Central Office.

Carol Anders Correspondent