High school reopens its doors to alumni

Published 2:30 pm Sunday, July 22, 2007

By Staff
Bath preservation hopes to gain support for restoration
Staff Writer
BATH — Graduates of Bath High School reunited Saturday afternoon inside their former school to remember what once was, and possibly to imagine what it could be again.
Emily Wallace Boyd, class of 1941, said her classroom was on the second floor of the office wing, the oldest building on the property.
“Our lunchroom was in the hallway. They would cook a big bowl of beans and vegetable soup and you could get a bowl for a nickel. With that you could either get a cornbread muffin or crackers,” she said.
Boyd said restoring the high school would “take a lot of work, but it would be better than to let it go.”
Possible plans for the buildings have been discussed such as a museum and a larger town library.
Bath High School, built in the 1920s, closed in 1989. It was turned over to the Town of Bath and the preservation board was formed “to facilitate the renovation and reuse of the building,” Preservation President Peggy Smith said in a recent interview. Supporters can seek a place on the preservation committee.
Maurice Cutler, class of 1954, said, “It’s beautiful to see all the plans to come. I hope they do it. It’s a great asset to the county.”
Susan Modlin, secretary and historical advisor for the Bath High School Preservation, greeted alumni inside the entry way of the school’s circa 1921 office wing.
Restoring the office-wing entrance is important to the overall project, Modlin said. “For many years the entry way was closed off and used as a learning lab or a small classroom.”
Modlin wants “to open it up” to the way it was, she said.
The initial work to the former high school buildings in preparation for the reunion was “a group effort,” Modlin said. “It has taken a lot of work and volunteers.”
In conjunction with school tours, the preservation featured a memorabilia display and dinner for alumni and their families.
Many graduates gathered inside Bath Elementary School, which is across the street from the former Bath High School, to view school pictures and clippings on display. The 1925 school bell was also included in the display.
June Wallace of Bath, class of 1956 and school librarian said she and Claudia Alligood collected most of the memorabilia that went on display. “Working in the library, I held onto everything.”
June Wallace is married to Jack Wallace, who was a coach and the last principal at Bath High School before it closed. He was a coach for 15 years and a principal at the high school for 21 years. After the school closed, he became the principal at Bath Elementary School. He retired in 1996.