Going Going Going Gone

By Jon A. Brake

It took six years, but the Manhattan School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday night to close Bluemont elementary school next year.

In 1995 with three new school building under construction the school administration had a committee to consider which school to close. The voters had just taken the word of the Board, that the district enrollment would go from 6,900 to 7,900 and three new school buildings were needed.

Word was out that Eugene Field would be closed. In a phone conversation with administration the Free Press was told that: "Yes, there is a committee but Eugene Field is too small of a building. If any building is closed it will be Bluemont." Tuesday night a new school board voted to turn Eugene Field into the Head Start building and close Bluemont. They decision was between Bluemont and keeping Woodrow Wilson open.

Now the Board must take-up cutting $2 Million from the 2002-03 Budget. In a worksheet given to the Board, staff reported that by closing Eugene Field the annual savings would be $171,000. Closing Woodrow Wilson would save $392,000 and closing Bluemont would save $357,000 annually.

After a year the Board will make a decision on selling the Bluemont block, the appraised value is $632,000.