Springville Residents Working To Keep School Within Community

(SPRINGVILLE) – Springville prides itself on its community and getting things done without a whole lot of government intervention.

Springville was established in 1839, and at one time had a railroad running through the town, a funeral home, feed mills, pool halls, stores, churches, and a school.

Springville was known for its festivals and PTO functions and the community built a public park in 2004 to bring everyone together for food, fun, and fellowship.

Most of these things are now gone, and a for sale sign is now placed out on the lawn of the Springville Grocery.

The community is still reeling from a lot of losses after the Springville gym was destroyed by fire. After the gym was destroyed the community stopped having its annual festival.

In January of this year, the North Lawrence Community Schools’ decision to close the Springville Elementary School has made for an even bigger loss to the community.

The first classes at started in 1963 following the efforts of Perry Twp. Trustee Roy Thompson to build a new school for the township. In January of this year, the North Lawrence Community School Board voted to close the school.

Lawrence County will now no longer have any schools on the western side of the county with the closing of Fayetteville, Huron, Springville, and Williams schools.

But, with efforts of many community members, the Springville community is not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

Lawrence County Independent Schools formed not too long after the vote to close the Springville school.

Working behind the scenes, the group toured charter schools around the state and has started the process to obtain the Fayetteville and Springville school facilities.

Lawrence County Independent Schools conducted a meeting on Monday evening just across the street from where the old Springville school sat prior to 1963.

The shell of the old Springville Gym remains following a fire that ripped through the building. The old Springville school sat to the left of the gym where the shelter house now sits.

The shell of the old Springville gym is still standing to remind residents of what once was.

Springville residents listened to the presentation to hear how the charter school will work, and how the group plans to acquire the Springville school.

Perry Township Trustee Bob Phillips and his advisory board has decided that they will work to acquire the Springville School. The advisory board includes Marilyn Kimmel, Doug Kelley, and Amy Voorhies.

Audio: Perry Township Trustee Bob Phillips

The decision was a slow process for Bob Phillips and his advisors who say they are looking out for the taxpayers of the township.

Amy Voorhies stated the closing of Springville School is very detrimental to the community.

Audio: Amy Voorhies, Perry Twp. Advisory Board Member

“By trying to acquire the school it gives people in the area options; allows them options in choices of schools,” said Voorhies.

At this time, there are still more talks and meetings that will have to take place between the township officials, the North Lawrence Community School Corporation, and Lawrence County Independent Schools.

The North Lawrence Community Schools litigation with the North Lawrence Parents Group, Ltd. and issues with the bonds of both Fayetteville and Springville will put any transfers of the buildings on hold.

The purpose of the North Lawrence Community School Board’s decision to consolidate was to eliminate deficit spending of $1.1 million.

However, the budget for the school corporation will remain in the $52-54 million range, and the debt of the corporation will remain the same to keep the debt tax rate the same as in previous years.

The North Lawrence Community School board voted last Thursday to start the process of issuing additional bonds/leases for a $5.3 Capital Improvement Plan.

In addition, following Perry Township’s interest in the Springville School, school officials announced that bonds/leases remain on the building.

At Thursday nights school board meeting, Dr. Ty Mungle said that the bonds can be transferred. However, he stated that those decisions have not been completed by the school corporation at this time.

A flag sits in the middle of the Springville Park across the street from the original Springville School. In 1963 students went to a newly built school just up the road. In January 2020, North Lawrence Community Schools decided to close Springville Elementary.

The Springville school was a special project of Perry Township in the early 1960s prior to the North Lawrence Community School district taking over the school.

Perry Township Trustee Roy Thompson worked very hard in building and securing funding for the Springville school.

Perry Township Trustee Roy Thompson passed away two years following the opening of Springville School.

The building was constructed in the early 1960s with the first classes being held in the building in 1963.

Howard Thompson, son of the late Roy Thompson, described the day that the students gathered from the old schools and marched up the road to the opening of the new school.

“I was attending Oolitic High School at the time, but we spent the day at Springville celebrating the opening of the school in March,” said Howard Thompson.” Kids lined up and walked from the old school up the road to the newly constructed school. And several people from the community attended. It was a special event,” said Thompson.

Audio: Howard Thompson comments on his dad’s view on the NLCS consolidation in the 1960s

The school has been a fiber that has held friends and family together throughout the years. This provided education, life lessons, and a rural way of life for many students over the years.

Springville residents continue to fight to keep education inside Perry Township, following the efforts of the late Roy Thompson in a quest to keep his dream alive.

On Tuesday evening, Indian Creek Township officials will host a public meeting at the Indian Creek Township Fire Department at 7:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to gather input from Indian Creek Township residents to see if they would be very interested in acquiring Fayetteville School.