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Preserving History and Culture at the New Mountain Valley School

Preserving History and Culture at the New Mountain Valley School
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As we plan and prepare for a new PreK-12 school at Mountain Valley, it is important to preserve and retain the rich history and culture from previous generations. This point has been articulated during the dozens of BEST Grant community meetings that have been held since November 2016. Hundreds of community members have participated and given input into what is important in a new school at Mountain Valley. Thank you to everyone who has participated in these meetings and helped build the vision and future of Mountain Valley School.

Last week, Mountain Valley issued a Request for Qualifications for an architectural/engineering team to design our new school. The response was incredible with over fifty professionals showing up to visit our school, tour the campus, and learn what is important to our community as we move forward in the design process. Architects interested in submitting a proposal must consider the following key points that were discussed at length during the tour.

How can we preserve the three memorials at Mountain Valley School?

The Otonio Genovevo Abeyta Memorial was dedicated to the memory of “Tony” Abeyta in 1987. Tony died September 3, 1965, while serving our country as a Marine in Vietnam. This memorial welcomes visitors to Mountain Valley School while honoring “God and Country.”

The Charles L. Coleman Jr. memorial was erected in 1996 on the north end of the football field in memory of “Corky.” This memorial includes two flagpoles set in a moss rock structure where Old Glory and the Colorado flag fly during home football games.

The Jack F. Curtis Sr. Memorial scoreboard has been a part of Mountain Valley football tradition for decades. This historic scoreboard memorial stands proudly at the south end of Jack F. Curtis Field.

These historic memorials will be included in the design of the new school and campus. Possibilities include displaying all three memorials at the new Jack Curtis Field. Alternatively, a Memorial Park could be built at the end of 4th street welcoming visitors to our school. This Memorial Park could include a walking path that connects the three memorials and tells a history of Mountain Valley School.

How can we transfer the artwork from the current gym to the new Bennett Gymnasium?

The 1987 artwork designed and painted by Vincent Gallegos, Charles Graves, Lori Ortega and Edna Quintana honors our school and other schools in the San Luis Valley. When opponents walk into our gym, they are welcomed and inspired by various mascots from our region. Ideally, this artwork will be replicated in the new Bennett Gymnasium, representing the various school cultures from across the valley.

How can we save and display the 10’ X 40’ Cochetopa Pass Buffalos mural that is painted on the south wall of the cafeteria?

In 1988, Fred F. Haberlein dedicated the Cochetopa Pass Buffalos mural to the students and teachers at Mountain Valley School. Haberlein has been nominated twice for the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Additionally, he has completed more single-handed murals than any other artist in the United States. Architects are already working on plans to save the Haberlein mural and display it in the new school.

How can we ensure that the new school fits in with historic downtown Saguache?

During the tour, architects were asked to visit downtown Saguache and consider historic architecture when designing the new school. School district residents have indicated that they do not want a school that looks like a “prison” or an “eyesore.” The new school should embrace the historic culture of the region while providing 21st-century learning spaces for our students.

The architect/engineering firm will be selected on November 8, 2017, through a competitive proposal, scoring, and interview process. After an architect is selected for our new school project, a Design Advisory Group (DAG) will be formed. The DAG will consist of 10-15 members, including students, parents, community members, MVS staff and administration. The DAG members will solicit feedback from all stakeholders and help ensure that the new school is designed and built to meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. If you are interested in the design process and serving on the DAG, please contact me at Mountain Valley School.

Please comment on this blog and share your ideas about preserving history and culture while building a new school at Mountain Valley.   

Comments (4)

  • I am happy to hear you are thinking of preserving the above mentioned memorials and walls. I think with the publics help this can be achieved. It may be that we put the new school in a different part of the campus to save the scoreboard, flag pole and The Cochetopa painting. I think the Abeyta memorial will be safe right where it’s at.

  • Thanks, Tina. I am confident that we can preserve all memorials and artwork through creative planning and designing!

  • I know many people have a personal connection with all of these. For myself, it id’s the artwork in the gym. My brother’s spirit and love for the school and the sports that kept him going until he graduated, live on, on those walls. Vince passed away 4/15/1988.

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