In early July, SD25 Superintendent Howell was asked if slabs visible inside the PHS construction site were the historic concrete sections containing signatures of past PHS graduates.
His response was they were not and that they had not been able to find anyone interested in them and that he thought they had been destroyed. Save Pocatello High School was previously told by the PHS Principal they would try to preserve/reuse them, but if not economically feasible, they had quality photos that could be displayed.
While not nearly as visible as the front façade that has been permanently blemished, the concrete slabs, a visual reminder of students who had come before, are representative of yet one more victim of this fight. Those signatures were of a young generation who had likely lost family members during World War I.
By WWII, some of these young men would have still been of draft age and may have served our Country. These signers lived through the Great Depression in the years following their graduations.
Yes, time marches on. But, we as a community lose something when we discard the past and do not show it proper respect. Imagine what the remodeling of the school in the Art Deco style meant to these young people at the end of the Depression era.
On Thursday, August 1, 2019, the City Council will decide on SD25’s appeal of the Historic Preservation commission's decision to deny Phase II a Certificate of Appropriateness. Don't be fooled by the district's budgetary arguments — the funds are always found when they want something and another $3.6 million is currently in reserve.
The HPC’s suggested changes were minimal exterior cosmetic changes to assure the project maintained the historical character and personality of PHS, especially the modernist appendage connecting the old with the new. A denial by the City Council won't signal the end of the project as they can make some suggested changes and resubmit.
There’s no public comment for this decision, so it’s important if you value this historic “gem” that you email the City Council members and ask them to deny the appeal. Also, please consider attending the meeting with a small sign supporting the HPC’s decision to deny.
The improvements are happening and will happen. It’s just a matter of whether the past will be honored and unfortunately the project to date has not demonstrated that commitment.