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Archive for Saturday, January 7, 2006

Kansas school on national register

January 7, 2006

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— Kathy Hoss finds "very little" has changed in the school building she attended 32 years ago.

That's precisely what makes it noteworthy to preservationists.

The 80-year-old, two-story, red brick building standing on the edge of Sylvia recently joined the National Register of Historic Places. It also is on the Register of Historic Kansas Places.

Currently housing Fairfield West Elementary School, the building originally served as the high school for Sylvia. Despite modifications and an expansion, the building "retains a high degree of integrity," stated the description submitted to the National Register.

Fairfield USD 310 Supt. Fred Martin credits the Kansas State Historical Society for the development. USD 310 responded to a survey that sought to identify school buildings more than 50 years old. It did not object when the State Historical Society pursued research and the official listing of the property.

A National Register listing makes properties eligible for the Heritage Trust Fund grant program and, potentially, a tax credit program.

"Right off the bat, there are no projects planned," Martin said.

Sites on the National Register also face some restrictions regarding new changes, but those restrictions would not apply to the entire school property, which includes later additions.

Other properties and districts in Reno County - including the Historic Fox Theater and the U.S. Post Office in Hutchinson - are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but Patrick Zollner, architectural historian with the Kansas State Historical Society, said "there could be a lot more."

The Sylvia school building's decorative stonework surrounding the entrance and tall windows and a red clay tile roof help create the first impression for the visitor. Inside, hallways are laid with original red quarry tiles. Carpet now covers wooden classroom floors, but the floor in the cafeteria clearly once was a gym floor.

Metal lockers line the hallways in the historic school, and steam radiators - that still work - are in hallways and classrooms.

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