Plans to Paint Over Murals Bristle Former Students

Student artwork has lined Spring Creek Elementary's walls since 1976

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 9:35 AM CDT
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Outcry Over Renovation Plans That Would Wipe Out Murals

AP

Sixth-graders started painting murals of United States history back in 1976.

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Outcry Over Renovation Plans That Would Wipe Out Murals

Hundreds plead with a Richardson elementary school to keep its student murals.
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Hundreds of former students have contacted a Richardson elementary school to protest renovation plans that will paint over student murals that have lined the walls for decades.

The principal of Spring Creek Elementary School, Candace Judd, said she is shocked by the community outcry over the student artwork. She has received hundreds of call and e-mails from former students begging the school to not paint over murals that date back more than 30 years.

Sixth-graders started the school tradition back in 1976.

“Each sixth-grade class through 1982 got up on scaffolds and painted a part of American history on the walls,” Judd said.

The students signed their projects, signaling the pride they took in their work then -- and still have now.

More than 400 former students from around the globe have e-mailed Judd, demanding the school put a stop to plans to paint over the time-honored school tradition.

“I’ve gotten one from a professor in the Carolinas, also gotten one from England, Maine, California,” Judd said. “When I say coast-to-coast, I mean it. We’ve really gotten a lot of e-mails.”

The school's upcoming renovation project calls for, among other things, a fresh coat of paint in the cafeteria and the gym, where the murals are.

“We do have a group of current Spring Creek parents that would like to see it renovated to start a new chapter for current students at Spring Creek," Judd said.

But finding parents who are willing to go public with that position wasn’t easy.

Mark Dempsey, a father of two, is among those who want the murals to stay.

“I can understand at some point you have to make renovations, but at some point, you would like to preserve an important part of tradition at the school,” he said.

Ultimately, it’s up to the school's principal whether the paintings' history will be preserved or become history. The principal will  announce her decision at the PTA meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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