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Respectful of history, not beholden to it

It was recently announced that the original windows at LaFayette Lanier Elementary would be replaced with newer, updated models.

The reason for this being big news is because the school has been trying to do this for years but hasn’t because it would lead to the schoolhouse losing its historical landmark designation.

Thankfully this has been resolved and in coming months the school will receive better windows while remaining a historical site.

Why did it take so long?

If it was the cost of replacement, that’s understandable. New windows are not cheap and replacing all the windows at a school likely has a steep price.

If it was making sure the school had just the right replacement, that’s understandable. Not all windows and window frames are the same.

But not fixing something just because it is historically relevant is not a good excuse, especially when the building is still in heavy use as a school.

Let’s be clear, history and historical relevance are important and should be taken into account when looking at any improvements to a structure or area. But historical does not mean original.

The White House is a historical building but has had so many renovations over the years, nothing is actually original to it anymore.

The idea that the only way to keep something historically relevant is to keep everything original is bad thinking. In the case of the school, if the windows had been of a special make or had any other sort of significance, then keeping them makes sense. But they weren’t and for years students and staff had to deal with single pane glass and frames that were so coated in paint they were unable to be opened.

We should be respectful of history and keeping reminders of it is a great way to showing that respect. But if something is old but still in use, keep it up to date.