Allow people with a vision to try and make it work
To the Editor:
I am a former resident of Libby, having worked for the Lincoln County Library in the mid-90s. At that time, the former Libby High School was the home of the Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College.
It was well-utilized, albeit a bit frayed around the edges, and I remember it as being an energetic, lively facility for the entire community. From my perspective, the age and condition of the building was actually an asset, adding a layer of character and history often absent from more modern facilities.
Even though the college outgrew the building, it's clear that many people in Libby still greatly value this piece of their community's history. They remember the valuable role it played in educating many generations of Libby families.
Even during my brief stay in Libby, I was impressed with the pride that so many area residents took in celebrating their local history, and how actively they supported its preservation. So, I have to admit that it's a bit disturbing to see how eager some people are to destroy this very tangible piece of history in the name of "progress."
It's especially confusing when this destruction will actually cost a significant amount of money, and downright baffling when there are apparently potential buyers for the property. What a concept: save a historic structure, and make money! Granted, there are many questions to be answered, and I agree with Mr. Morris' point that more specific plans from potential buyers and developers would make the issue clearer. Hopefully, such information can still be made available before the upcoming vote.
However, even short of that, if the school district doesn't want the responsibility for maintaining the building, then they have a great opportunity to sell it and give someone else a chance to revitalize the old school. While there are no guarantees that any revitalization plan will succeed, wouldn't it make sense to at least allow those with a vision to try and make it work, potentially enhancing the community when it most needs it?
From what I remember, Libby isn't lacking for parking spaces. As a former resident with great memories of a very special community, I urge Libby residents to support the preservation of the old high school.