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Muskego High School takes steps to save murals during renovation for new weight room

Ceiling tiles and lighting were removed in a classroom in order to remove a wall to Muskego High School’s former art room to create a new weight room on the school's ground level. While artwork on the removed will be lost, the remaining artwork will remain near the new weight room walls.

Ceiling tiles and lighting were removed in a classroom in order to remove a wall to Muskego High School’s former art room to create a new weight room on the school's ground level. While artwork on the removed will be lost, the remaining artwork will remain near the new weight room walls. Photo By C.T. Kruger

July 3, 2014

Muskego — A wall bearing murals by art students from today and from years ago is coming down at Muskego High School, but many other murals are being saved due to a last-ditch effort by students.

Concerned students pleaded with the Muskego-Norway School Board recently to save the murals that they called history and precious memories of the artists.

Murals on one wall were to be either destroyed as a wall came down or painted over because the art, science and technology rooms are being refashioned into a new athletic weight room.

"You shouldn't tear down the expression of others," said Clayton Cavanaugh who will be a junior this fall. "It's someone's soul poured out into an image."

Paul Salsieder who just graduated said it's important for students to feel that their artistic expression was meaningful.

And it means a lot to know that you are leaving a footprint in your school, Clayton said.

Because of the art students' pleas, the school board ultimately decided to save as many murals as possible, but the murals between the art and sciences rooms will have to go.

"I think it's worth saving as much as we can," said board member Eric Schroeder. And the murals will bring artistic expression to a new venue and perhaps a new audience, he said.

"It would expose a lot of other kids (to art) who may not ever have walked into the art room," Schroeder said.

Football player and weight lifter Paul Koble, a junior this fall, was pleased with the board's decision.

Having murals to look at rather than bare walls will be helpful because they will distract from the punishing effort involved in lifting weights, Paul said.

"You're not thinking, 'Oh, gee this hurts,'" he said.

Before the wall comes down, the murals on it will be photographed, Johnson said. One of the options being considered is transferring the images to canvas, he said. The wall could be demolished this week.

The students had hoped to persuade the board to leave the art room alone and to make a new weight room elsewhere.

But Schroeder said, "Our job is to be responsible to taxpayers," and this is the best option available.

It is a solution to the weight room floor having deteriorated to the point that it could no longer be used. The deterioration was discovered last August and the weight machines were moved to a study hall that has only ground underneath it. Aerobic equipment was stored because there is not room for it.

The School Board considered several other options — building a weight room addition, building a swimming pool addition and putting a new weight room where the pool is, strengthening the old weight room floor so it can be used as a weight room again and leaving the weight equipment where it is and strengthening the old weight room floor enough to hold up the aerobic equipment thereby splitting weight room activities into two locations.

Cost knocked out the additions and strengthening the old weight room floor to accommodate weight machines. It also was much more expensive than expected to strengthen the weight room floor enough for aerobic equipment. Splitting aerobics and weights also would have meant more supervision would be needed because of the two locations.

The art and science rooms presented a viable option in the board's view because they are on grade so the floors need no strengthening. Art enrollment has fallen so the school can get along with two art rooms instead of three. And the science room will be moved upstairs closer to the other science-technology rooms.

The old weight room floor will be reinforced to classroom strength.

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