It only took one day and one man operating an excavator to demolish most of the old Waldport Middle School on Tuesday. He started in the morning, worked all day and by sundown it was just about all on the ground.
They still have to separate-out the recyclables which will no doubt help pay the coast of the demolition.
The Lincoln County School Board determined that the old leaky building had become more of a hazard than a resource, and so ordered it torn down and taken away.
However, they’re not demolishing the gym or the cafeteria. That’s where Senitila McKinley came in. She’s the founder and volunteer Director of The Seashore Family Literacy Center right across Highway 34 from the school site, in Waldport.
Senitila had long coveted the old middle school for it’s classrooms and common areas which fit perfectly with her non-profit’s programs for before and after-school education, childhood development, recreation, and vital assistance to needy families.
A native of Tonga in the South Pacific, Senitila has been often referred to as the Mother Theresa of South Lincoln County with all the services she provides to low income families, including breakfast and lunch for children when they’re not in school.
Although most of the old middle school is gone, Senitila has convinced Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Tom Rinearson, and Rinearson’s facilities manager Richard Belloni to take her up on a deal: Accept a token donation from Seashore Family Literacy and she’ll transform it into a bigger and even better asset for the community – becoming a venue for plays, music, education, sports and many other activities that help children learn, grow and evolve into truly mature, thoughtful and productive adults.
Rinearson and Belloni are putting the paperwork together. Senitila says she expects the deal to be sealed pretty soon. Then she says establishing a fund for building upkeep and repairs will have to be established. She said she’s confident it can be done. She already has a number of skilled construction and building experts who volunteer their time. She says she’s confident that such commitments will grow and support the cause of South County children.
Senitila says her Seashore Family Literacy organization lives and breathes on donations from the community and it will take even more to make the old middle school gym and cafeteria a major community asset, But with her trademark “twinkle-in-her-eye” she expresses optimism that it can be done, because she says, “It MUST be done for the children.” And thus far she’s gotten no argument from the community.
Those would like to learn more and perhaps become a benefactor to the Seashore Family Literacy Center can do so by calling 541-563-7323.
Below is a short video of how quickly the old middle school came down but also how much space remains with the gymnasium and the cafeteria which will remain standing. Both will continue serving the community through the innovative and compassionate guidance of Senitila McKinley.