Southern Boone County Says Goodbye to Old Ashland High School

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COLUMBIA - The Southern Boone County School Board agreed this week to move forward with the demolition of the old Ashland High School.

The school board decided to demolish the Ashland Consolidated School at the end of next week.

The district ended the 2013-2014 school year with a higher surplus than it expected. The board has been discussing the demolition of the 111-year-old high school for about five years, but the additional money allowed the board to agree on demolishing the high school this year.

Southern Boone County School District Superintendent Chris Felmlee said the building is no longer safe enough to use.

"There really is no sense in postponing this. It's just a liability waiting to happen," said Felmlee.

Felmlee also said the members of the community have said they are sad to see the old building go. He said the community wants to save historical artifacts from the building.

"There's a tremendous amount of history within those walls, and it really hurts to have to tear it down, but it's been let go for so long," said Felmee.

Felmlee mapped out specific artifacts that will be preserved, including the limestone headstone over the building and original stonework within the building. The district is considering adding the saved artifacts to the middle school expansion or creating a sign out of the collected items.

Felmee said the cost to maintain and renovate the old high school would be very costly.

"No one wants to see it come down, but everyone realizes the liability and the current condition that it's in. It's just not usable and it's only going to get worse," said Felmee.

The district said it plans to use the old high school's land to expand the town's middle school within ten years.

"The growth of the town is really pushing us to expand ours schools, there's a need for academic space," said Felmlee.

The expansion would include a library, additional classrooms, administrative offices and a new entrance. The next phase in the Southern Boone County district academic expansion is to build an addition onto the primary school.

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