Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Keeping It Old School

$11 million renovation of
M.A. Cassidy Elementary
compliments 75-year-old school's
historic integrity

"Buildings are not just about the architecture,
they're really about the life of the community
that's gone through them.

They're about the lessons learned,
the stories shared, friendships made
– and that building embodies all of that.

A new building would never do that,
even if it was built on the same site."

---Susan Hill: Tate Hill Jacobs Architects

This from Robbie Clark at the Chevy Chaser:

Having been a student teacher at M.A. Cassidy Elementary School while at the University of Kentucky in the early seventies, when Dr. Richard Day moved with his family back to Lexington in 1985, one thing was certain. "I knew where my kids were going to go to school," Day said. "And we bought a house two blocks away." ...

In November, as Cassidy celebrates its 75th anniversary, as well as the completion of a massive $11-million renovation, Day will be delivering a program on the school's history as part of a number of events scheduled to mark the occasion.

Constructed by P.W.A. workers and completed in 1935 during the Great Depression to meet the rapidly growing population of Lexington's east end, M.A. Cassidy Elementary School was named after Massillon Alexander Cassidy, who worked for 43 years with Lexington-area schools, serving as superintendent for Fayette County and Lexington city schools (sometimes concurrently), beginning in 1885. Along with his longevity in the school system, Cassidy is remembered for his progressiveness, instilling a number of programs and social innovations, such as penny lunches, indoor plumbing, "opportunity classes for irregular children" – a precursor for special education – and junior high schools...

Susan Hill, an architect with Tate Hill Jacobs Architects, the local firm which handled the renovation project, said the work was envisioned to cover the school's needs for the next 30 years. "That's the charge. Whenever you do this kind of renovation, except for ongoing maintenance, it should not have to require another major renovation for 25 to 30 years," she said. "It's $10 million that went somewhere."...

M.A. Cassidy Elementary School will be hosting a 75th anniversary ceremony and open house to show off the new renovation on Nov. 18. Doors to the school will be open at 5:30 p.m., and an optional dinner will be served at 6 (dinner is $6). A program about the history of Cassidy will begin at 7 p.m. For more information about the event, contact the Cassidy PTA at

Photo above by Robbie Clark: Recent renovations include an entirely new wing (left) on Cassidy Elementary, Lexington, KY.

Thanks and congratulations to the Board of Education, Superintendent Stu Silberman, and Mary Browning and all of the operations folks, and Rhonda Fister and the Cassidy School faculty and staff, on a successful project !

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