Gym is spared in Fairfield School demolition

Messenger photo by Mike Munden

Employees of Colvin Gravel Co. use heavy equipment to tear down the old Fairfield Elementary School at 5681 West Jefferson-Kiousville Rd. in Madison County. The gymnasium will be spared.

While the bricks and beams are being torn apart, the site of Fairfield Elementary School will continue to bring the community together. The gymnasium and baseball fields continue to host games, and plans for a shelter house are in sight for the future.

Demolition began on the building March 10 and is expected to take about two or three weeks. The work is being done by Colvin Gravel Co. based in Madison County.

The three-story brick schoolhouse was built on six acres of land at 5681 West Jefferson Kiousville Road in 1917. An addition to the school was built in 1947. By the end of the 2003-2004 school year, the last students walked out the doors as the Madison-Plains Board of Education closed the school as part of budget cuts.

But some loved things die hard.

“It hurt our hearts terribly when the school was shut down,” said Fairfield Township Trustee Wayne Francis. “But we must move on.”

The trustees bought the property at auction in April 2006. Since then they have been trying to decide what to do and how to pay for it.

“We bought it because it was the center of our community in our township,” Francis said. The trustees wanted it to be a useful place to benefit township residents.

They acquired a grant from the Madison County Commissioners to fund the removal of asbestos and fuel tanks on the property.

“We’re very thankful to our commissioners for that,” Francis said.

The demolition is taking longer than might be expected because of the care needed to cut the main building away from the gym, Francis said. Plus, all the debris is being sorted so that some can be recycled.

The gym has already been repaired with help from area volunteers and is used by adult and youth sport teams as well as clubs such as 4-H. There is a small fee to rent the gym which helps pay for utilities and maintenance, Francis said.

Although it is hard to know when it will be possible, the trustees hope to build a shelter house where classrooms once stood.

Last year, more than 100 kids played ball on the fields, Francis said.

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