A new chapter for Ludington’s school children begins today.

December 17, 2021

Foster Elementary School

A new chapter for Ludington’s school children begins today.

Editorial by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Earlier today, my friend Brad Reed posted photos that he took this morning of the three current Ludington Area Schools Elementary buildings: Foster, Franklin and Lakeview. Today is the last day of school for each of those buildings, as students will begin classes in the new Ludington Elementary School when classes resume on Jan. 3, 2022. 

Brad wrote these words along with his photos: 

Lakeview Elementary

“These bricks built generations of leaders, deep thinkers, mothers, fathers, and friends.

“These bricks built our beautiful community.

“These bricks may crumble soon, but what they built will never die.

“These bricks built hope, strength, confidence, and most of all, love.”

Brad texted the photos over to me and then I called him. We chatted about those words. I think about this topic a lot. I love local history. I am a big advocate for preserving local history, remembering our past. I believe we learn about our presents through the lessons and experiences we learned in our past, as individuals and as a society. I love the fact that the citizens of Ludington have owned the property of Lakeview school since the early 1870s. The First Ward School was built at the corner of Gaylord Avenue (then Main Street) and Haight Street in 1872. 

(For more history of Ludington Area School District, check out my article that I posted a few months ago, click here). 

But, I also love the fact that the citizens of the community had the foresight to realize that they had to change with the times. 

The original First Ward School no longer exists. Nor does the original Second Ward School (Longfellow School, located where Longfellow Towers is now), the original Third Ward School (which was located south of the current building), the original Fourth Ward School (where Pere Marquette Elementary, then Pere Marquette Early Childhood Center), and several other former school buildings. 

Franklin Elementary School

Those buildings served a purpose in our society: To educate our children so they could grow up to be productive citizens in our society. The taxpayers of the community built those buildings during those times utilizing the best resources they had available. In the mid-20th century the taxpayers in the community made the decision that many of those old buildings were longer suitable for modern education, and, for the most part, they tore down the old and built new. That “new” is now “old.” 

The children in our communities deserve the best we can provide for them. Yes, it costs money, an investment I personally believe is worth every penny. They don’t deserve “good enough.” What worked for past generations doesn’t necessarily work for the current and future generations. 

All three of the school districts in Mason County exist today because men and women had a desire to educate their children with the best possible resources they could provide with the goal that those children would lead greater lives (interpret as you will) than their parents. They didn’t dwell on the past. They understood that in order for society to evolve and in order for our communities to thrive, they needed to create learning environments utilizing the most modern facilities and techniques available. 

It is true that these three buildings will likely not exist in the near future. While some may perceive this negatively, we need to recognize that this has been a process that has been happening for a couple years. The public has had its opportunity for input, which it gave by passing the bond that built the new building and that will fund millions of dollars of upgrades to other school facilities. Part of that bond was the understanding that the school would no longer own the old buildings and that the free market would dictate those buildings’ futures. While those buildings may be acceptable for some, their futures will be in the hands of the private owners. 

In the meantime, the citizens of the Ludington Area School District can be thankful that they are providing their children with new experiences and new opportunities. After-all, those buildings exist for our children not for our nostalgia. 

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