Skyvue school building comes tumbling down

For 48 years, the brick school building on Hartshorn Ridge named Skyvue served the surrounding community, educating its youth. For 48 years, its halls reverberated with the laughter of school children, the applause and yells of sports fans, and the discourse of public meetings. For 48 years, it was the heart of a rural community otherwise tied together only by long, curvy roads. That 48 years of existence came to an end this week as the old Skyvue school made way for its younger, sleeker counterpart.

Skyvue began its life as a high school on January 3, 1966 when the school was part of the Monroe Local School District. On that date, students came back to school from Christmas break to a brand new building. The previous Skyvue High School (a building destined to outlive its successor) had been located in Stafford, and the student population had outgrown its tight confines.

An article from the January 6, 1966 edition of the Monroe County Beacon described the new school: “The school is identified by Mosaic murals placed in the entrance. The murals, in black and gold, have the school’s name and a golden hawk, the school’s insignia. The school has fifteen classrooms designed to provide the best possible educational facilities to the student body, also, a new home economics department plus two business education rooms. A large shop area is provided for vocational agriculture and Industrial Arts…The new cafeteria serves approximately 250 students and is adjoined by a combination study hall-library and cafeteria kitchen. Other featured rooms and facilities are: a clinic, teachers lounges, a concession area, public address system, automatic timer system, a 60 foot stage for auditorium purposes… The gym features a full size basketball court with glass bankboards.”

A dedication and open house for the school was set for Sunday, April 17, 1966. In attendance for the occasion were Congressman of the Eighteenth District Wayne L. Hays and Attorney Robert Manchester who sat on the Ohio Board of Education at the time.

Skyvue High School continued on in the building for 28 years. Highlights from those years included exceptional basketball and baseball teams. The athletic accomplishments of the school culminated in a 1984-85 state runner-up finish in boys basketball and a 1985 state championship in baseball.

In 1994, as consolidation was enacted across the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District (SOLSD), Skyvue’s days as a high school ended. At the end of the 1992/93 school year, Bethel Elementary closed. Then, at the end of the 1993/94 school year, Lewisville and Graysville elementaries closed. Those three schools combined to make Skyvue Elementary.

The secondary students from the former Skyvue High School were incorporated with students from the old Woodsfield High School to form Monroe Central High School. At the time, anger spread across the Skyvue area about the loss of their high school and elementary schools. However, time heals wounds, and soon Skyvue and Woodsfield students learned to work and play together at their shared high school.

The SOLSD new schools levy passed in 2009, and the old Skyvue building was set to be demolished to make way for a new school. As the conversation continued on the new schools, a portion of the Skyvue area expressed a desire to renovate the old building to keep it. Much of the concern stemmed from the size of the proposed new building compared to the old building.

Two community meetings were held in later winter/early spring of 2012 in which several Skyvue area residents attempted to save the old school. Through the Ohio School Facilities Commission, SOLSD officials revealed that it would cost more and have more cost risk to renovate than to build new. Based on that information, the board continued with the plan to build new.

Building new meant tearing down the old. Due to the designated sites of the new schools, all the other buildings remained and were auctioned off. However, with the new Skyvue Elementary being located at the same site as the old Skyvue Elementary, the old had to make way for the new.

The demolishing of the old Skyvue Elementary had begun in recent weeks, with asbestos abatement and interior work being completed. On Friday, July 25, demolition began on the outside of the building and was ongoing this week with the school building soon to be a part of the past.

Emotions vary across the Skyvue area. Some are extremely distraught at the loss of their old school building.

Some viewed it only as a building and will still cherish the memories they made there. Others fall somewhere in between. Whatever the emotion, one can’t deny that those driving along Hartshorn Ridge will see something missing from the skyline, something that has stood proudly along the road for the past 48 years.