Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 30, 2010

Goodbye to Hatcher

End of era approaches for school

ASHLAND — When the last student skips out the door at Hatcher Elementary School on Friday, it will be more than the end of the school year.

Hatcher is ceasing to exist as a grade school, and while the district has plans for the building, there are a number of steps to take in retiring the school.

Teachers are getting their assignments for next year at Crabbe, Hager, Poage and Charles Russell elementaries and already are starting to box up classroom supplies and equipment. Soon after the end of school, movers will truck it all to their new classrooms.

Most of the contents at Hatcher can be used in other schools, Principal David Greene said. The other elementaries, except for Oakview, which already is at capacity enrollment, will be getting an influx of students as children in Hatcher’s enrollment district are absorbed.

That includes desks, chairs and other furniture. It also includes books from the school’s library. They will be distributed to the other schools and librarians there will confer on how to divide them up.

Over the years, the school has awarded the Elijah Cooksey Scholarship to 37 former Hatcher students and the scholarship committee wants to continue the tradition, Greene said. The scholarship goes to a student from the Pollard area who graduates from Paul Blazer High. “That’s a source of pride for our school,” Greene said.

Extracurricular activities, such as Governor’s Cup and Student Technology Leadership Program, will be absorbed into similar groups at the other schools.

The youth basketball league, which is not a school activity, will continue to use the gym.

But what of a school’s heritage and history? The answers aren’t yet clear, Greene said.

There are PTA and PTO records, for instance, including a vintage record book dating to 1937, with articles, minutes and other memorabilia. PTO funds will be rolled into district accounts, but minutes and other archival materials are a different matter.

Items with the Hatcher moniker are another issue. What will the district do with, for instance, four metal park benches in front of the school with the name “Hatcher” on them? Greene doesn’t know yet.

Hatcher has four trophy cases stuffed with mementos of athletic and scholastic triumphs, and no decision has been made on their disposition.

The district is awaiting permission from Head Start officials in Atlanta to remodel parts of one wing that will be used for preschool programs, Superintendent Steve Gilmore said.

The preschool wing will get some security enhancements to control access, he said.

The other side of the school will become the district central office. Extensive remodeling probably won’t be necessary, Gilmore said. Instead, classrooms can be partitioned to accommodate multiple office spaces.

The transition from the current Central Avenue headquarters will be “slow and orderly” and probably continue into the fall, he said.

The district hopes to sell the old building, which in another era was the home of Ashland Junior College, predecessor of Ashland Community and Technical College.

If that happens, proceeds from the sale would go into the district’s general fund, Gilmore said.

The existing Hatcher school building was built in the 1980s and replaced an older school of the same name that had been there for more than half a century, according to local historian George Wolfford.

The original Hatcher Elementary was built in 1928 during a time of municipal growth and cost $121,000, according to Wolfford.

It replaced Pollard Elementary, which was a county school near Pollard Baptist Church on Blackburn Avenue.

It was named after Robert Ellison “Uncle Bob” Hatcher, a teacher and principal originally from Ironton.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.


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