A Simple Piece of Research
If your readers are still undecided on the upcoming vote to turn Academy School into a community center and municipal offices, I encourage them to do a simple piece of research. Park for a few minutes in front of the building, then drive slowly down Academy Street (or brave the weather and walk around the building). Then imagine what this splendid (but deteriorating) structure could be.
The original 1921 building has brickwork and detailing that you just don’t see today. The windows are huge, the rooms high and full of light. The designers and builders meant to create a structure that would be a credit to our town—and still is. But on the west side of the building its potential really shows, because it is simply huge, bigger than any other building downtown, complete with a theater and gymnasium.
Here are the types of programs that the planners envision for the restored building: visual arts, performing arts, music, theater, cultural activities, adult education, culinary arts, social activities, children and teen programs, sports and recreation, and commercial opportunities. The renovated building would easily house all of this and vastly improve the quality of life in Madison.
The whole Beach and Rec Department is crowded into a corner of Town Hall. Moving to Academy would enable the staff to run significant programs right on site. Look off to the left of Academy at the tiny, deteriorating building that houses Youth & Family Services. They need a new home, too. But most of all, imagine a thriving anchor for the west end of the business district, bringing residents and new visitors downtown.
The building is deteriorating fast, so I encourage your readers to keep a magnificent public building in use for the public by voting in favor of Academy School renovation.