As is rarely the case, today International Metropolis is pleased to present GOOD NEWS for a change. In a complete change of direction from what was announced in 2003, John Campbell public school will be spared the wreckers ball, and will receive a full renovation/rebuilding.
In 2003 if you might recall, provincial funding was acquired to replace three of the cities oldest schools. Begley (since demolished), Benson (next to go) and John Campbell. Of the three schools, arguably the most architecturally important one was John Campbell.
Built in 1926, by the local firm of Shepard & Masson, the school is unique in both its neighborhood presence, and architectural beauty. The plan to demolish it was not well received by the local architectural preservation groups who have been diligently working for the last four years to try and save the building.
Recently there was a change of direction and everyone came together on the realization that the preservation of this important architectural structure was important, and the new plans call for complete rebuilding of a new school within the existing building envelope. Important interior elements like the lobby will be restored to their original grandure, while all the classrooms and hallways will be all new and state of the art.
Last night the local heritage groups, parents groups and neighborhood groups presented to the school board, and there was a vote taken on weather or not to save the building. The vote was unanimous in favor of preservation.
While usually it’s all doom and gloom, kudos to the school board trustees for realizing the importance of the building in the streetscape and in the cultural identity of the city. For once someone didn’t take the easy way out, and John Campbell will endure as a testament to some forward thinking individuals.
Thanks a million!