Cassville takes next step with monument

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New plaques to be mounted on concrete blocks at high school

The Cassville school district has decided on a new type of monument to continue its tradition of commemorating its past, and future graduating seniors.

After moving past a conflict over its sidewalks with MoDOT, which had been charged by the U.S. Justice Department to make all sidewalks within MoDOT's right-of-way compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district has decided how to proceed with its attempt to address a deteriorating sidewalk more than 90 years containing the names of graduates from 1922-1971.

Unfortunately, the sidewalk was within the realm of MoDOT's control, and ultimately, the agency ruled the sidewalk would be removed. In response, the school district, in the interest of maintaining its core value of honoring graduates, brought in local photographers to preserve the names, and took progressive actions to consider new options for future generations of graduates.

"The district has been working with a 10-person committee, seeking input from the community about options for replacing sidewalks that MoDOT took out and with some other form of graduate recognition," said Dusty Reid, director of facilities and operations for the district.

The district reviewed several different monument designs.

"After reviewing many different options, the committee has decided to recommend cast plaques mounted on concrete bases," Reid said. "This option is a more permanent option compared to concrete when you think about deterioration due to weather and snow removal. The plaques would also give us the ability to relocate or replace the plaques in the event of future school or highway expansion, natural disaster or vandalism."

The plaques will be approximately 24-inches tall and 12-inches wide, and will be mounted on raised concrete slabs that will be poured in place. The projected budget is $25,000, and donations are being accepted to help cover costs.

Cassville students got on board with the project, also, sharing their input on what they thought might work best for the future to avoid potential conflicts with state and federal agencies.

"This year's graduating class had several student meetings and discussed their options for graduate recognition," Reid said. "Over 95 percent of them preferred a cast plaque over a concrete sidewalk. They felt that the plaques would look better, last longer, cost less and could be saved in the event they needed to be moved several years down the road."

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