With possible new school on the horizon, old memories resurface


Kathryn Broderius

Greeley West principal Mr. Jeff Cranson gives a tour of the basement behind the computer lab used for credit recovery.

Kathryn Broderius, Staff Writer

When Greeley School District 6 announced on Monday, August 12 it would move forward with a bond issue to build a new Greeley West High School, mixed opinions arose.

For Greeley West’s principal Mr. Jeff Cranson, the news comes as something to celebrate and even a sigh of relief. Cranson explained, “I’m losing teachers to other nicer schools that can offer them their own office and classroom.”

He also joked that West is the only place, “you can rub elbows with so many different people due to the large number of students. We are over capacity and don’t have the space for everyone.”

However, the thought of tearing down Greeley West comes with reservations from others. One West alumni in particular, Ms. Claudia Sitzman, who graduated from the first class at Greeley West in 1967, is not ready to see the current school building completely gone.

Last Friday, Sitzman got the unique experience of coming back and walking the halls with the current era of 1700 students who now inhabit West. While standing near the hub during seventh hour passing period, Sitzman remembered the school being crowed while she was in high school, but admitted that, “Still – at bell time –  there was a lot of kids passing, but nothing like this.”

Sitzman’s greatest concerns about a new school come from the idea that a new building would mean losing the past history of the West that she grew up in. With the old building gone, Sitzman believes memories from past classes would get, “lost and forgotten.”

The purpose of the tour was to show Sitzman not only the need for a new school, but that history would be preserved.  “It bothered me that they wanted to tear down my school,” Sitzman admitted.

Her concerns came from the last bond issue that passed, which ended in the demolition and rebuilding of John Evans Middle School. “They completely got rid of it and even named the new school an entirely different name,” Sitzman said.

She doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to West. Needless to say, the tour was an eye-opening opportunity with Sitzman admitting at the end, “This has never been a pretty school and I can see it definitely has problems.”

Much of the history is found on the walls students pass by every day. Upon her entrance, Sitzman teased that, “Many things are the same, but something that they were missing was the pencils on the ceiling. Students used to throw them up there and they would hook on the ceiling tiles.”

The other key piece of history Sitzman is most concerned with, comes in the form of the mural found on the gym wall. “Students had bought two tiles for a $1 and signed the back of one. Each tile has its own spot in accordance to a planned-out grid,” Sitzman explained.

The mural still includes all the original tile pieces.

On the tour, Cranson walked School Board President Michael Mathews and Sitzman around the building showing them many things that the normal passer through would not see, including the basement where old play sets and sports uniforms are stored, as well as the many portables that fill the grounds around West’s main building.

After the conclusion of the tour Mathews even acknowledged learning things on the tour. “There are many areas at West I had never seen before until today,” Mathews said.

Even after the tour, Sitzman still wants to preserve West.   “I would like to see some of it saved,” Sitzman said.

Sitzman even has gone so far as hiring an architect to look into ways to save parts of the original building by, “gutting the building and then reroofing it, to turn it into arts and humanities and then building a two or three story nice rectangular building for math and science.”

She also disclosed that she fully intends to take this idea and propose it to the school board as well, in order to keep the memories and the history of the past years at West alive for years to come.

Cranson still sees one major issue with Sitzman’s plan. “Regardless, any change to West requires some bond to get passed,” Cranson said.