A groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 26 for a new addition to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dennis Doris, president of the organization, said "This is the culmination of a dream."
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 26 for a new addition to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame. Speaking at the ceremony, Dennis Doris, president of the organization, said "This is the culmination of a dream." Doris went on to explain that the Hall of Fame's founder, Laurence Stanton, had envisioned a one-room school on the complex where classes could learn about education in days gone by and spend a day experiencing the same kind of routine as those early American schools. "And it must have been a similar dream that lead John Warner to make a place for the Pleasant View #58 school on his ranch," he said. The descendants of John Warner recently agreed to donate the school to the Hall of Fame. A plot west of the current Hall of Fame facility will be developed into a collection of early day school buildings and playground equipment. The latest artist's rendering for the project shows the school at the center of a flowing walkway. The walks wind past a swing set, teeter-totters, a merry-go-round, several benches and two outhouses. "We've been told that neither the playground equipment nor the outhouses can be functional," Doris said. The school was originally built in 1887 and later moved by Warner to a site on his ranch along Hwy 283 on the Hodgeman/Ford County line north of Dodge City. Among the interior elements of the school are 15 student desks, a recitation bench, a 1912 piano and a heating stove that sits in the middle of the room. Also included are a teacher's desk and chair and the bell tower, complete with bell and rope. "These rural schools functioned as more than classrooms," Doris said. "They served as community centers, they hosted box suppers and all kinds of programs, including church services," he said. Speaking for the Warner family, Marcella Warner Holman said "My grandfather was passionate about history and we're glad the schoolhouse is coming here to a new home at the Teachers Hall of Fame. Here it will get the care it deserves and be available for people to enjoy and learn from." Doris says the project schedule calls for the building to be moved to its new location by the induction ceremonies in June of 2014 and for the project to be completed by the induction ceremonies in June of 2015. A number of local businesses and institutions are all ready helping with the project. Architect Tom. P Montgomery, who has worked on several Dodge City schools as well as the Santa Fe Depot restoration project, has designed the landscaping and provided sketches. Victory Electric will assist with the move of the building to its new location. The USD 443 Building and Trades program will help with roof repair and building painting. And many current and former educators have pledged hours of labor toward cleaning and restoration. To complete the project, the committee is raising funds from the community and from major donors. Total cost of the project is estimated at $125,000. The project includes moving the school, preparing the site, laying foundations, restoring the school including re-shingling the roof, and landscaping the site. In addition, the city will construct new sidewalks along the south side of the site as well as 14 new off-street parking places. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information about the project or to make a donation, contact Doris at 620-225-7311 or 620-225-1861. As Dodge City continues to promote its place in western history as a frontier town, the organizers of the project feel it's also appropriate to remember the schools and teachers who contributed to the taming and civilization of "the wickedest town in the west." Laurence Stanton wanted to recognize the importance of education to a town like Dodge City and he also wanted to salute the quality of our teachers. He wanted a place where the children of today can have an interactive experience of the education their grandparents received. Now we can make his dream come true," Doris said.