Thinking about it, I don’t know if I had ever been inside Dundas Consolidated School before this past weekend.
It was a place that I certainly heard plenty about. My mother went there, as did her siblings and some of my cousins. Years after hearing about their stories, my wife Rachel told me about her tales of Dundas Consolidated, and being relieved from math class so she and some of the other students could go play ping-pong. I knew there were a lot of community events happen there, and I knew it was a very important place for the people of the area.
So, when I heard the list of schools that the Eastern School District decided to close it in 2009, it was the only one I felt a tiny personal connection with. Despite not having gone there myself, I know that it was a definite blow to the area as a whole, and in a certain way, to Rachel and my mother.
This past weekend, we were at Rachel’s sister’s house (about 20 minutes from Dundas) for a birthday party. Something came up about Dundas Consolidated being torn down, and being the curious pair that we are, we decided to head over to the school to see what we could see and perhaps snap a few photos.
You can see the full set of 17 photos on Flickr.
It was almost eerie walking around an abandoned, semi-demolished school. Fire drill procedures still posted to the wall. Math blocks and puzzle pieces strewn on the stairs. Basketballs sitting deflated in the gym.
More disturbing is what was rumored to be in the school whenever the doors were locked, ready for demolition: computers in classrooms, microscopes in the science lab, furniture sitting where it was abandoned. Rumor has it many of the books from the library ended up in a dumpster, and most of the desks in the school are apparently at the bottom of that pile of wood in the gymnasium pictured above.
Again, rumors, but if they aren’t true, I know the community and alumni would like to know what the plan was for the resources, equipment, and ping-pong tables when the school was locked for good.