The members of the revitalized Old Sallisaw High School Association Inc. have submitted plans for saving the rotunda and surrounding property of the old high school. The plans are expected to be on the Sallisaw City Commission agenda for their regular meeting Monday.
City commissioners had voted to demolish the rotunda after it was vandalized numerous times. But residents and alumni objected and offered to come up with a plan to save the rotunda and property as an asset for the city.
According to the plans, the association hopes to turn the property into a memorial park for Sallisaw High School alumni, using the rotunda as an entrance to the park grounds. They plan to furnish the grounds with picnic tables, benches, an awning, a sound stage for local musicians to showcase their talents, and a movie screen for movies on the lawn and to show old high school football films.
They plan to plant flowers, trees and a hedge fence to protect the park, and have suggested that security cameras would discourage vandals. The property would be decorated for Christmas and would be an asset to the city, they suggest. Current high school students in vocational and technical areas will be encouraged to participate, and the association would also work with engineering reports and follow their recommendations.
The association would be responsible for the funding for the park and money would be raised through fundraisers such as food and bake sales, festivals and car and motorcycle shows. They suggest that annual donations and fundraisers would assure that the park would be self-sustaining for generations to come. It is expected the project will cost less than $50,000.
A proposed timeline suggests Phase 1 of the project would be the initial property preparation and assessment, and the planting of hedge rows, and would take about six months from acquisition. Phase 2 would include placing park benches, picnic tables and shrubbery, and would take about four months. Phase 3 would include installing the stage and lighting, and the replacement of glass in the rotunda, which would take about two months.
The association notes that the rotunda is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings, a status obtained through the works of the members of the previous association.
The city commission meets at 6 p.m. in the commission meeting room at the Sallisaw Civic Center.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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