To the editor:
I applaud the Fort Dodge Community School Board for its action favoring preservation of Phillips Middle School, formerly North Junior High and Fort Dodge High School. I attended North have always remembered it as a majestic school. My father, Arthur Johnson, graduated from high school there in 1939, and my brother and sister attended North as well.
The building is a beautiful historic site in Fort Dodge. Built in 1922, the architecture reflects the classical elegance of that era. The entrance is unlike any modern school constructed today. Too often these days buildings are demolished in the name of progress, only to be replaced with unsightly parking lots. Once these historic buildings are gone, they can never be replaced. The soul of a city lies in the heritage it preserves. The South Beach district in Miami is one of the most successful vacation spots in the world thanks to some forward-looking preservationists who fought against all odds to preserve the Art Deco treasures in the area. The LoDo district of downtown Denver, once a blighted dangerous area, is now a bustling, popular residential and entertainment district thanks to the renovations of the older classic buildings into loft apartments, stores, and restaurants.
If Foutch Brothers, a company expert in restoring historic buildings, does it right, a beautiful residential building in the former Phillips will enhance the neighborhood, increase property values, and provide the community with additional tax revenue. Nice apartments close to the downtown area would be convenient for people working there, and may help to revitalize downtown. A renovated Fair Oaks would provide needed apartment space for seniors. By becoming classified as historic preservation sites, additional funding can be obtained for completion of these projects. It is a win-win opportunity for the city of Fort Dodge.