EHS gym demolition being considered

By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times

A state agency is considering the Webster County School District’s request to demolish Eupora High School’s gymnasium, which is Mississippi Landmark.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History published a public notice in the Progress-Times last week that the gym is under consideration for demolition by the school district. The Permit Committee of MDAH’s board of trustees is accepting public comment on the proposed demolition within 14 days of the legal notice’s June 11 publication.
EHS basketball games have been played in the renovated gymnasium at Eupora Elementary the past few years, and Superintendent of Education Jack Treloar has previously said the district planned to talk with MDAH about tearing down the high school gym, which was completed in 1950. Such approval is required because of its historic status.
Treloar revealed those plans in 2012 after the county School Board approved construction of a metal PE/multipurpose building on the EHS campus as part of the district’s Qualified School Construction Bonds project. It was built last year on the north side of the high school, with its intended uses for athletic purposes to include basketball practice.
MDAH originally ran a public notice in June 2013 stating that the Eupora High gymnasium was under consideration for removal of “Mississippi Landmark” designation. Archives and History trustees discussed the delisting request on April 25, according to a post on the Mississippi Heritage Trust blog “Preservation in Mississippi” by MHT Executive Director Lolly Barnes.
The board tabled the motion to de-designate the building and asked Treloar, who was present, to return in July with a demolition request rather than a de-designation request, Barnes wrote.
“This seems to be a mere procedural issue since the discussion, according to those present, jumped immediately to what would go on the site of the gym once it was demolished, and the one motion that was made before tabling was to grant the de-designation request,” she added.
Contacted Monday about the resulting new public notice, Treloar said, “They (MDAH trustees) directed me to apply to demolish it but to leave it as a historic site. If the board grants us permission us to demolish, then we would have to work in accordance with them.”
Treloar also said that, as he had previously stated, the school district’s intentions are to turn the space into a parking lot if the gym is demolished.
Of the April 25 meeting, Barnes also wrote, “Only the board member from Natchez, Valencia Hall, asked a relevant question to the effect that if the building was significant enough to designate in 2006, why was it now even being considered for de-designation when nothing has changed?”