Change is needed but I hope some things stay the same
Camden — Recently School Administrative District 28 retained the services of an architectural firm to publish a study about renovations and use of the Camden-Rockport Middle School building and campus.
The study involves collecting ideas about how the current building and property can be used and improvements that can be made through reconstruction and renovations. Growing up in Camden, I have very fond memories of the former Mary E. Taylor Middle School and Camden-Rockport High School and am glad that the powers that be have found a way to keep a historic part of Camden on Knowlton Street.
Speaking with Superintendant Elaine Nutter the other day, I could tell she was excited about the opportunity to create a better, more efficient place of learning. She mentioned that if it came to demolition of parts of the building, the feeling was that there is less of a sentimental attachment to the old high school section of the building.
I, for one, have a great sentimental attachment to the place where four years of my life — probably the most influential ones — were spent.
Students spread out in chaos for about 20 minutes, then calm came after students entered the building or cleared the “smoking” side of the street to catch the bus to Midcoast School of Technology or “voc” as they called it.
Going to CRHS in the late 1980s. I was in a generation that was sandwiched between two of the school's most recent renovations. Gone were the stage and the multi-story building and in its place came a mini-gym, band room and industrial arts.
I remember spending countless hours down in the weight room with Mr.Goodspeed lifting or trying to make weight for my next wrestling meet. The basement was the place where the wrestlers all went during study halls and after school, before practice, to do homework or in most cases, take a nap.
Walking in the front door every morning, I was almost always guaranteed to see Mrs. Clossey in her office or Paul or Pat the custodians cleaning up a mess that I may or may not have made when eating a bagel.
The hundreds of basketball games, wrestling matches and dances in the gym, baseball and soccer games out on the fields are some of the other things that created my sentimental attachment.
My personal feelings about certain parts of the school aside, the ability to keep the building in its current location is important because it is a big part of the town’s history.
The original Camden Grade School [Mary E. Taylor School] was constructed in 1925 and was virtually untouched until 1950 when the gymnasium was added. More additions to the school were made in the 1960s, '80s and most recently a major project when the building was refitted to house Camden-Rockport Middle School.
In any version, whether it is Camden Grade School, Mary E. Taylor, Camden-Rockport High School or Camden-Rockport Middle School, the location in the center of town and the rich history that goes with the buildings and campus have a strong connection to the community and, albeit a bit sentimental one, I have a connection to it too.