SAUGATUCK (MI) MAY 4, 2006 -- An
eight-foot tall sign created by Saugatuck High School junior student Will
Gibbons has been chosen to publicly display the progress of fundraising
efforts by the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society for revitalizing the
Old School House, a prominent historic landmark standing since 1866 on
Center Street in the Douglas business district. The sign will be installed
on the School House lawn as a prominent reminder of the urgent need for
community support of this important project.
Active in the High School's art program since his freshman year, Gibbons
is a member of the art class of teacher Christa Wise, who was invited to
guide students in submitting designs for a "thermometer" type sign as a
class project. His design was favored among several competing entries for
its creative concept, relevance to education and ease of reading.
Gibbons, an Eagle Scout, has contributed to various community projects
including helping to rebuild the steps at Douglas Beach. At Saugatuck High
School, he participates in track and cross-country sports, and is
considering career possibilities in product design or video production. A
native of Elkhart, IN, he lived in the state of Washington before moving
to the Holland area about five years ago with parents Theresa and Dan
Student Will Gibbons
and art teacher Christa Wise display Gibbons' fundraising progress
sign created for Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society's "Old School
In 2005, the Saugatuck/Douglas
Historical Society launched its ambitious campaign to buy, preserve and
rededicate the building as a unique new Discovery Center, in a cooperative
effort with the area's District Library and Public Schools. Plans envision
a community resource where children and adults alike can explore the
area's history, culture, ecology and architecture through recreational
activities, educational programs, special events and access to a unique
archive of objects, photos and records.
The Discovery Center also is expected to enhance the area's destination
appeal in the growing heritage tourism industry. The Old School House,
which served as a public school until 1957 and has many alumni among
current area residents, is one of the oldest multi-classroom school
buildings in Michigan and considered one of the finest examples of 19th
century school architecture in America.
Challenged by a purchase option agreement to be exercised in September of
this year, the Society already has received a matching grant for $425,000
and raised $150,000 in matching donations. A series of fun events
promoting broader public support will be announced soon, including a June
5 party at the Blue Moon restaurant in Douglas, a Country Faire on July 2,
and a Town Meeting on July 12.
For more information about the Old School House Project and the
preservation of this distinctive community asset, call Kristin Gebben,
S/DHS Development Director, (269) 857-5751.