|Elmhurst High School alumni, their immediate families, and school staff will have a final opportunity to tour their former school and ‘Meet & Greet’ with fellow alums in November. Event organizer, The Waynedale News invites the following groups each day of the two-day event:
Friday, November 10; 8am – 6pm: Alumni who graduated in years 1969 or earlier, and their immediate family only, as well as former staff members.
Saturday, November 11; 8am – 6pm: Alumni who graduated in years 1970 or after, and their immediate family only.
All attendees will have the opportunity to experience a 25 minute guided walking tour of the main floor of the building, passing main features of their experiences as a student or staff member, such as the Music Rooms, Courtyards, Stage & Auditorium, Lecture Room, Staff Areas, Cafeteria, Library, Main Gym and more. A suggested donation of $5 per person will be collected at the entrance. Proceeds will benefit the Waynedale Community, split between the Waynedale Sidewalks & Trails Initiative and the Waynedale Corridor Project.
Following the tour, guests are invited to the Main Gym for a ‘Meet & Greet’ with fellow alumni. There will be light refreshments and seating to allow guests to reminisce about their experiences. There will also be Elmhurst mementos available for purchase as a fundraiser for Waynedale community causes.
“As an organizer of many large-scale events promoting community togetherness in the area, we felt there was a need for a final opportunity and closure for the thousands of alumni and staff members who had spent time in the school.” Alex Cornwell, Publisher of The Waynedale News continued, “As unfortunate as the closing was, as well as the slated removal of the building, we are thankful to be granted a two-day opportunity by the property’s current owner, Hanson Aggregates to host this event in support of local causes. For many, this will be a time of sadness, but it will also be a time to celebrate and honor the collection of memories and experiences that occurred within the school.”
The idea for such an event came from many alumni’s comments; which is when Daniel Westrick (class of ‘95) and Josh Wolfe (class of ‘96) began a Facebook group to start gathering input and collecting all class lists of names of alumni. With their experience of organizing community events, The Waynedale News was asked to lead the event and to pursue an agreement with Hanson Aggregates. Camille Garrison, Marketing Director for Kingston Residence Assisted Living and local community advocate has also assisted with the primary planning of event space, volunteers and tours.
With a limited two-day time frame for tours and high attendance anticipated, it is suggested for attendees to arrive early and expect a line. Attendees should look for directional signage for parking and other instructions, which will be posted on the days of the event. As the building has been sitting empty for seven years, attendees should be cautioned that there is some deterioration and they will be required to sign a liability waiver before entering the building. No food, drinks or pets will be allowed inside. Local law enforcement agencies will be providing event security. Attendees should also take note that this event and The Waynedale News has no affiliation with Hanson Aggregates or Fort Wayne Community Schools. The Waynedale News would like to remind guests that this is a time to respect those who would like to step back in time and re-live warm memories of time spent in the school; not a time for negativity in reference to the difficult decisions made by owners of the property.
Elmhurst High School has a rich history dating back to its original construction in 1929. In March of 2010, the Fort Wayne Community School Board voted to close the school, citing a budget reduction. FWCS announced the property for sale in March of 2017, and was accepting bids for the property until July of 2017. Recently, on August 25, 2017, Hanson Aggregates, a mining company and neighbor of the property put forth a winning bid and has taken over ownership of 28 acres, which includes the building and an adjacent farm parcel.