Update: Public legally given time to raise money to save historic Forks High School facade
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What's left of the 1920s facade of Forks High School, once considered as a stand-alone monument to the newly rebuilt campus. The new biomass boiler tower stands at left background. -- Photo copyright (c) Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News

By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

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FORKS — School officials still hope that something can be done to save the facade at Forks High School as a freestanding monument on the redeveloped campus.

According to the conditional use permit granted to the Quillayute Valley School District by the city last summer, the district must hold a public hearing and give the community 45 days in which to find alternate funding to pay for reinforcing the brick facade.

Reinforcement and renovation would be required for the facade to remain as a stand-alone structure as a memory of the 1925 portion of the school, which figures descriptively in the Twilight saga of novels.

A date has not been set for the public hearing.

The board voted Friday night that the facade would be too expensive to pay for out of the bond issue passed by voters last February.

Earlier report:
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

FORKS -- The brick facade of the oldest Forks High School will fall to economic reality.

The facade, which includes the main doorway and an embossed "Quillayute Valley High School" above the door of the 1920s-era building, will not remain as a monument on the newly rebuilt campus.

Nostalgia to the tune of a quarter-million dollars is too costly, the Quillayute Valley School District decided last week.

The School Board was hoping to incorporate the front of the building -- left standing when the rest of the condemned structure was demolished last summer -- into the design of the new campus.

The facade would have been left as a stand-alone structure as a part of a grand entrance to the school.

The brick design of the leaky old building figures heavily in the descriptions of the Twilight saga, which has propelled Forks and the West End to worldwide acclaim.

In addition to Twilight fans who often visit the school to see and photograph the place where heroine Bella Swan meets her vampire love, Edward Cullen, the building holds greater nostalgia for generations of longtime West End families who attended school there long before Bella and Edward.

But saving the facade would cost $271,000 on top of the $12.2 million construction bid accepted Friday, and its just not feasible to spend the money that way, said Bill Rohde, School Board president.

"We would have considered a lower bid, but that's over a quarter of a million dollars, and we can't afford it," he said.

"We're pretty much right on the line right now."

The winning bid went to Primo Construction Inc. of Carlsborg. The school district received seven bids.

Construction of the new 39,500-square-foot high school building will begin "hopefully in a few weeks," Rohde said. It will be completed by the end of 2011, he said.

It will house six classrooms, a library and the school's offices.

Once complete, the portion of the school built in 1963 will be demolished. Additions to the school built in 2000 will be incorporated into the new building.

School district voters approved an $11 million construction bond in February.

The state is providing $7 million.


Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or at tom.callis@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 04. 2010 4:29PM
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