Home News Local News RISD unable to save Del Norte handprint mural

RISD unable to save Del Norte handprint mural


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A portion of the old Del Norte Elementary School that holds some sentimental value for some will not be able to be preserved as the Roswell Independent School District prepares to demolish the building.

Ira Rodery spoke via phone during the inquiries and comments section of Tuesday night’s meeting of the RISD school board. He asked if a wall featuring a mural of students’ handprints installed about 20 years ago could be saved.

Rodery said he was one of the children whose handprints appear on the wall.

“My mom, along with quite a few others, are scared to death that that handprint is going to be gone forever,” he said.

He said if the mural could be removed, he would like to take it apart and send the handprints to his Del Norte classmates.

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“I was just hoping there was some way we could possibly get our handprints for our moms. That would be an awesome late Mother’s Day gift,” he said.

Chad Cole, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said saving the mural itself will not be possible. He said the mural is affixed to a wall of the building that contains encapsulated asbestos, or asbestos that was covered with a protective barrier.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used for many years in construction to strengthen and insulate materials. Exposure to its dust is known to cause cancer, however. While not completely banned in the United States, new use of the material was banned in 1991 and its removal is regulated.

A contractor is in the process of asbestos abatement in the old Del Norte building through the end of the month.

“Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to peel that down without breaking some pieces of the wall,” Cole said.

“I wish I could tell you that we had a good way to make that available for you. I have checked with our construction manager and he has checked with other people, as well as our asbestos abatement contractor, and that just wouldn’t be possible,” he said. “We could not distribute that to the public in the condition that it’s in with parts of the wall and the asbestos.”

The district is taking some measures to preserve the memories, however.

“We’re going to take some photos and those are going to be displayed in the new building,” Cole said.

Cole said RISD’s Creative Learning Center is working on the project.

Board member Mona Kirk said a similar situation and solution occurred with Missouri Avenue Elementary. A new school was built in 2012.

“There was a legacy project on the wall right in front when you walked in the front door. It couldn’t be moved. We took a picture of it and replicated it and put it in the new Missouri Avenue building,” she said.

“I think that would be an awesome thing we could do for those parents and those kids, and maybe do individual pictures so they can have that as a legacy,” she said.

Cole said he was not sure if the mural had already been removed, as staff cannot go in the building during the abatement.

After the asbestos abatement is complete, the building will be demolished starting in early July.

The new Del Norte Elementary is on schedule to be completed by the beginning of August, Cole said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.


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