This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another historic school

If this were a normal year, Monnett School would be full of Kindergarten students and first-graders this week.
But there will be no students being dropped off by busy parents or arriving on the buses. Monnett School has been retired.
I tried to find some of the basic history of the school, such as its date of construction, but could not. When we arrived in Rensselaer in the mid 1970s, it was the elementary school that served the south side of Rensselaer. It had grades K through 5, I believe. Only one of my children attended Monnett, and that was for Kindergarten. If you know the key dates in this buildings history, please leave them in the comments. (That would be construction date, dates of any remodeling, when it lost the upper grades, etc.)

The school sits on the site of the former Monnett School for girls, and it takes it name from the site. The pronunciation is unusual--the double n suggests a short o, but it is pronounced as a long o.

The school had a gymnasium. Was that original or an later additon?
The hallways should be full of students, but are only full of stuff waiting to be discarded, moved, or stored.
I peeked through a window to see what was left inside. Some of what is there will still be moved. Some of it, those things that can find no use either in the new primary school or the other schools, will probably be sold at an auction sometime in the future. If you need old school desks, they will probably go pretty cheap--at least they have in previous school auctions that I have attended.
The playground behind the school looks unkempt with its weeds. It was and remains open to any kids who want to use it.
I always like the map of the US that is on the playground area. I suspect this was painted when the school had upper grades.
The pictures in the brickwork were used in the "Where is this" photo contest that the Rensselaer Republican ran several years ago.
These benches look decrepit, perhaps foretelling the fate of the main building.

Monnett has two wings of classrooms, in between them is an interesting courtyard and interesting wall paintings that contain some simple astronomy lessons.
The east wall shows how the illumination of the moon by the sun creates the phases of the moon.
The south wall of the north wing shows the solar system, though the planets are not to scale. (Mercury is too big, Jupiter and Saturn too small.)
All the surrounding schools have begun. SJC welcomes new students tomorrow. In about a week there will be an open house at the new primary school.

I have not been able to learn what the future holds for the school, and perhaps no one really knows. Apparently when it ceases to be used for education, the ownership reverts to the city of Rensselaer. Again, if you know what is happening on this topic, please inform us in the comments.

By the way, the new primary school is K-2. It takes K and 1 from old Monnett, and 2 from van Rensselaer School.

Because school is starting late this year, the swimming pool will close late. It will close after regular hours on August 26, but will reopen for Labor Day weekend, September 1, 2, & 3. Then it will shut down for the season.


Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of teaching in this school. I taught in the Kindergarten room, a first grade room near Mrs. Baer, and a fifth grade room clear at the end of the other wing. Those were good years in education and teaching.

Anonymous said...

The new school is also going to have pre-k classes and their new 'kindergarten readiness' program for 4 year olds.