It’s good when a compromise is made

Published 8:50 pm Friday, June 29, 2018

It’s good when a longstanding disagreement between two parties is resolved amicably with no hard feelings either way. That appears to have happened on the issue of replacing windows at the LaFayette Lanier School.

There’s no question the school needed new windows, both for safety reasons and for improved energy efficiency. It’s clear also that the LaFayette Lanier School is an historic treasure that’s well worth efforts to maintain its integrity.

The problem here is that the windows needed to be replaced. The Chambers County School District had attempted to do that on a number of occasions. The first proposals to do this a number of years ago would have changed the appearance of the school. Those who are into historic preservation find that unacceptable.

Email newsletter signup

What happened to break this stalemate is that an architect from McGee & Associates of Montgomery is sensitive to maintaining the historic integrity of buildings and is dedicated to finding ways of doing this while making much-needed school improvements.

According to members of the Valley Historic Preservation Commission, the architect has a proven track record on doing this with historic buildings. His plans for LaFayette Lanier would not change the appearance of the school.

The new windows will look exactly like the old ones, which are the relatively rare nine-over-nine Austral kind. They will be doubled paned for energy efficiency and much safer than those that date to the school’s construction in 1936.

Installation will take place during this year’s fall break in November.

The VHPC is currently updating its list of historic properties. There’s a total of 18 buildings in the City of Valley that are officially designated as historic properties. In addition to the LaFayette Lanier School and the adjacent Langdale Theater, they include the Cotton Duck, Langdale Boy Scout House, Sears Memorial Hall (Langdale gym), Shawmut Post Office, Shawmut Kindergarten, Crestview Ballpark Grandstand, Fairfax Kindergarten, Fairfax First Christian Church, Old Fairfax Post Office, the Johnson-Howell Store, the Fairfax Boy Scout House, Fairfax Girl Scout House, Bethlehem Church Cemetery, River View School and the River View First Christian Church.

We applaud the good work being done by the Valley Historic Preservation Commission and its efforts to preserve the city’s unique history and is special places. The current list of historic places can always expand. To be considered, a structure must be at least 50 years old. The VHPC works with private property owners in protecting the historic integrity and value of their property.