Preservation Group Wants Dean Morgan, Roosevelt Schools On Historic Register
Dean Morgan Junior High School deserves national recognition as a historic building, the head of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission said Monday.
The Alliance for Historic Wyoming nominated the school for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees needs to act on it, commission coordinator Peggy Brooker said.
Brooker reminded them of the community's effort.
"I'm quite sure you're aware that a lot of work was done to prepare that nomination by the Alliance for Historic Wyoming," Brooker said. "The nomination is waiting for your approval to be sent for submission."
According to the application for the Registry listing, Dean Morgan qualifies as part of the development of Wyoming's educational system. It has survived the statewide replacement of many pre-1980s schools, and "is especially significant as one of the best preserved surviving representatives of Wyoming post World War II facilities."
It also qualifies for listing for its example of modernist school architecture and blending in with its neighborhood, according to the application. "Dean Morgan was designed in the International style, which eschewed traditional forms and ornamentation in favor of a more industrial look with clean, horizontal lines, a low profile, flat roofs and banks of windows.... It retains integrity of location, setting, design, materials, workmanship, feeling and association."
The Alliance for Historic Wyoming will review nominations in February, and the board needs to act soon, she said. After the meeting, Brooker said the school board has not paid as much attention to the request as it should.
Likewise, Brooker said the board will be need to consider what to do with the Roosevelt High School after it is vacated.
Brooker cited the Pine Bluffs school as an example of what can happen when the process goes well.
The Historical Society secured a 50-year lease of that building from the school district, took over maintenance and assumed responsibilities for it, she said.
In the meantime, the society received a cultural trust fund grant and came up a plan for the school. Pine Bluffs received a community facilities grant from the Wyoming Business Council to pay for the building's rehabilitation.
"So there are funds out there," Brooker said.
For another perspective, Local interior designer Jacquelyn Bilek told the board she is renovating the Turner-Cottman Building on West Second Street and will have it placed on the National Historic Register. The Register is overseen by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Being placed on the Register does not come with a difficult process or rigid guidelines, Bilek said. "The Register is there to help find and to help encourage people to take these buildings that are like diamonds in the rough and renovate them and keep them going ... to keep them a part of our history here in town."
Board Chairman Dave Applegate said the board will take Brooker's and Bilek's comments under consideration.