More than a decade after the Highland School was tore down, a monument has been erected near its original site to commemorate the building where Highland’s youth had been educated since 1916.
According to Highland Mayor Henry Smith, the Highland School was used right up until the Fairfield Local District’s new facilities opened in 2002, and then students that formerly attended school at the Highland building started going there. It was in the years following its closure that the Highland School was tore down, with bits of it salvaged with the hope of making some sort of monument.
Nearly halfway through what would have been the school’s centennial year, the first phase of the monument was completed last week. It is something that Smith called a “community effort,” something that has come together through donations, volunteers, and community support.
The monument is made up of new bricks and a piece of original stone from the old school bearing the school’s name. Bricks salvaged from the school more than a decade ago will be sold to those interested, engraved, and placed in front of the monument, which will be the project’s second phase.
A prepared statement said the second phase will also include preparing the ground for the engraved bricks and a time capsule.
Smith said when the school was demolished the village kept the salvaged bricks and the stone bearing the school’s name with the intention of erecting a monument, but there was never the money to do it. Then someone came up with the idea to sell the original bricks and offer the engraving, and that has been what has helped fund the project so far.
The bricks original to the Highland School are available for sale now, Smith said. They are $30 each and that includes engraving, he said. Anyone interested in purchasing a brick can contact Smith at 937-763-4916 for more information and order forms.
The monument was built by Laurel Oaks masonry instructor Shawn Wilkin. Smith said Wilkin was assisted at times by some of his students on the project as well.
The monument is located in the village park, Smith said, which is on Park Lane, off of Church Street.
On a related note, Highland is looking to expand its village park, the mayor said, and thanks to donations has been able to begin some of that by recently adding some playground equipment, like two new basketball goals and a playground roundabout. The village, according to Smith, is also looking into possible grants to fund more expansion at the park.
More to celebrate is coming up for Highland with the village’s bicentennial set for a two-day event on Sept. 17-18. Smith said there will be activities leading up to the bicentennial including a church rededication and a ghost walk. More details will be made known as the event draws more near, he said.
“We’ve had some really good support and assistance from the community,” Smith said in regard to the monument, village park and other activities in Highland. “I am quite proud of the community I live in.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.
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