Farewell to buildings at Bijou, Buena Vista

       Farewell parties are planned next week at two Westside schools that will be relocating to new buildings in the 2009-10 school year.
       The Bijou School (alternative high school) will have its last luau potluck (a school tradition) at its 730 N. Walnut St. location Friday, May 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The school will reopen in August at the Whittier school site.
       Buena Vista Elementary will have a party in its gym Friday, May 22 from 5:30 p.m. till “whenever,” as parent organizer Sue Spengler put it. The event will feature live music until 6:30, an open microphone after that for people to talk about their school experiences, and student art and writings about the move (which will be posted on the walls).
       Both schools are inviting past and present students and staff. Bijou will be moving to the Whittier site at 2904 W. Kiowa St. Buena Vista's Montessori program is moving to Washington, 924 W. Pikes Peak Ave., while its non-Montessori students are assigned to Westside Elementary.
       Both Whittier and Washington are closing, with their students also assigned to Westside Elementary, except for some Whittier students who will go to Howbert .
       At Washington, Buena Vista plans to keep its name, at least for the first year.
       The school closings/relocations resulted from Board of Education votes following studies and meetings over the winter months as well as data from previous years showing that School District 11 was losing enrollment and needed to cut back and/or rework its school offerings.
       Nevertheless, Spengler described “a lot of sadness” in leaving the Buena Vista facility (which was first built on the site in 1911 and will now become home to the West Center). “We also feel sad for the parents who have to leave Washington,” she said. “There's almost this guilt. It's hard for everyone.”
       Other school farewell parties are planned this week (see May 7 Westside Pioneer for details). These are at Whittier Friday, May 15; Washington Saturday, May 16; and Pike Saturday, May 16.

Westside Pioneer article