Marilyn Lane-Eggleston is the Michelangelo of Ivywild School.
Built in 1916, Ivywild’s closure was forced by budget cuts a few years ago. Under renovation as an urban renewal project, it will reopen in February, housing a brewery, bakery, tasting room and more.
Mike Bristol and Joe Coleman, who are spearheading the project, own businesses nearby and have vowed to retain the school’s character, including the plentiful wall art throughout the building. Lane-Eggleston had a hand in all of it.
“My heart is here,” said Lane-Eggleston. “It was a sad day when they closed the school.”
It’s more than her heart. Lane-Egggleston’s legacy is all over the place at Ivywild in the form of the wall-mounted ceramic tiles she helped students make, and the many murals she painted herself.
Ivywild’s basement sports a “Voyage of the Mimi” mural. A tribute to international diversity decorates the south stairway.
“I’m not a certified teacher,” she said. “We didn’t have an art teacher, but I was an artist, so I wound up teaching a lot of art.”
Lane-Eggleston recalled that at a meeting of district officials, “the instructor said we need to teach more science even if we paint it on the bathroom walls.”
Thus today in the boys’ and girls’ restrooms there are murals depicting dinosaurs, the major food groups, multiplication tables, basic anatomy.
“The one thing we did notice,” she said, standing in the boys’ restroom, “was after this went up, there was minimal graffiti. They respected it.”â€¨ Urban renewal often means tearing everything down and rebuilding, but in Ivywild’s case a bonafide effort to preserve the past is in the mix. During a recent tour, Bristol, owner of Bristol Brewery, said there are plans to apply a protective coating over the murals to preserve them.
When it was suggested that out-of-town developers probably wouldn’t have had the same preservation mentality, Lane-Eggleston nodded and said of Bristol and Coleman, “they’ve been in the neighborhood for a long time.”
A brewhouse will replace what once was a sixth-grade classroom, but the charm of the 96-year-old building will remain.
Lane-Eggleston, now a community liaison at North Middle School (yes, she has done a mural there, too) still holds an annual barbecue for Ivywild alumni at her home and last summer, many took a tour of the renovation project. The tour, she said, made everyone feel better about the closure of the school, knowing it now will have new life.
But what of Michelangelo?
“One of these days I’m going to be done with D-11 and it would be my dream to come back to Ivywild,” she said.
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