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North Elementary Farewell Celebration Scheduled for May 10

SIDNEY--For over 90 years, North Ward Elementary School, better known as just "North", has been an integral part of the Sidney community. However, at the end of this school year, the school will be closed due to budget cuts.

North Elementary is currently Sidney Public School's oldest existing building, with construction starting in 1929. It was completed in December 1930 and formally dedicated on October 26, 1931. The North Ward School was described in a Sidney Telegraph article from October 27, 1931, "the building embodies every new architectural innovation and is the last word in school accommodations. Ample ventilation and light, better class rooms and additional office space have been created. The fire menace, of course, has been entirely eliminated from the structure with the use of as little lumber as possible in construction." The original building was described by local residents at the time as "one of the beauty spots of the town." The lower level of this building was originally an auditorium.

Thousands of Sidney residents have passed through the halls of North Elementary, and many had returned to teach the next generation of youngsters. A strong bond between the community and the building was formed, and many Sidney natives can remember going to their first day of school in Kindergarten class, or completing their first science project or learning music for the first time in the building.

Principal Nancy Rowlett said that the third grade students will be moving to South Elementary and the fourth grade students will be moving to West Elementary next year. She said the children are excited to move on to a new school, but many are sad to see North close and have many great memories. "One of the students told me that North Elementary was such a big part of her life, and that it was a "Perfect School", and she's sad to see it closed down," Rowlett said.

Although many are sad about the closure, Rowlett said that there were issues in the school, due to its age, that would be not only difficult to fix, but also cost prohibitive. "The electricity would need to be upgraded because we don't have enough power, and that would be very expensive. Also, in February, the sewer system for a whole wing collapsed, and repairing that would be very difficult and expensive. It was kind of like the building saying its time was over," she said. She added, "Even with that happening, the bathrooms still worked, showing the high quality of construction when the school was built."

There will be a celebration of North Elementary on Friday, May 10. The program starts at 12:30 with a final picture being taken of the last North classes, culminating with guided tours of the building after dismissal starting at 1:15. All Sidney and Cheyenne County residents that either went to North or were affiliated with the school are invited to be a part of the event.


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