With all the talk about building a new high school, I have been reminiscing about the old grammar school on School Street in Boothbay Harbor.
Our former sports reporter Keith Alley, whose dad was a janitor there, recently sent me a photo of the antique playground basketball stanchion his dad got when the school was torn down in the 1970s. The one-piece, all-metal “rig” was a challenge to get those red inflated rubber balls into the “basket” erected on the top. If the ball went in, there were two or three openings where the ball would come out and return to the players. I think this “rig” improved our shooting touch!
As for the school, which seemed 100 years old back in the 1970s, it was an interesting building yet, when I think back, the town made a good decision to build a new school, which opened in 1977 to include Boothbay Harbor and Boothbay students (as well as Southport in grades 7 and 8). The old grammar school and grounds were worn out and “an accident waiting to happen.” But somehow, no one got seriously hurt.
We lived across the street from the school (actually on Gilead Street) and it became “our” playground, and the playground for other kids in the area.
Behind the school were massive rock formations, which kids would climb on – despite the recess teachers keeping watch and discouraging the kids from going there. Behind the rock formations to the east was a “field” where we would play baseball, softball, kickball and other games and activities. I quote “field” but it was actually just an open area before the woods began, not well groomed and in the left “outfield” was an outcropping of milkweed and other bushes.
Somehow, we all survived, got an education and moved on to the high school, where 350-plus kids got more education and many of them went on to college and proceeded on to their careers.
Maybe it’s not the facility that really matters. Maybe it’s the education one receives which truly counts. However, like the old grammar school, the high school, built over 65 years ago, is becoming “worn out” and maybe it is time to seriously consider replacing it, rather than patching the problems. Taxpayers are urged to continue to follow the discussion regarding the plans and the costs involved.