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Cherished for its architectural beauty and historic connection to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, King Elementary School has closed the doors on its 88-year history.
At 905 Memorial Parkway stands an empty shell of a building.
Once very much alive with the bustle of elementary school students, its halls are now eerily silent. Lockers hang open and empty like gaping mouths, while classrooms seem lonesome and desolate. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell.
Standing alone in one of the classrooms, I can still smell paper, chalk and wood shavings, lingering in the air like memories not yet ready to be forgotten. With a familiar lump in my throat, I head down the stairway to the basement and into the art room, where hundreds of vibrantly colored handprints splatter the walls, doors and windows — last masterpieces made by tiny hands before the historic school closed its doors forever.
Scribbled on the walls are well-wishes, final good-byes, quotes and poetry from both students and teachers.
“We will miss you, King School!” wrote one child.
On June 10th, 2011, King Elementary School closed the doors on its 88-year history.
Most of the old Akron schools are undergoing transformations similar to King Elementary, which was razed in early December to make way for a brand-new school. My feelings are mixed regarding the Akron Public Schools rebuilding project, known as Community Learning Centers or CLCs. I believe in the restoration of our landmarks and in preserving the history of our city, but as I roam the deserted halls of King Elementary, I realize its disrepair and neglect would cost the city and taxpayers far more to restore than to rebuild.
I feel grateful to have taken this solitary tour — to have wandered the halls and to have paid my respects to our past as we leave it behind. Taking what little comfort I can in that knowledge, I smile sadly as I turn to leave, bidding King Elementary School adieu.
/ Jessica Burkhart-Zuschin is the circulation manager of akronlife magazine. Her 8-year old daughter is a third-grade student at King Elementary School.