Monroe’s iconic former school turned to rubble

Two of this city’s beloved icons are being demolished this week.

The former Lemon-Monroe High School building and the adjacent football stadium in Monroe are being ripped into rubble after years of disuse.

Long-time Monroe resident John Osterman was among those who stopped by Monday to watch demolition crews at work.

The school’s former gym is leveled and the main entrance was being clawed down by heavy demolition machinery.

Through the gaping holes of brick and steel Osterman could see some of the classrooms where his three boys — now grown men — were educated decades ago.

“For this community it represents the spirit of the schools. It’s been here for so long, to see it come down … isn’t easy,” said Osterman who lives about a block away from the school campus between Macready and Leeprice avenues. “But there was a time for it and this is a time when it’s no longer needed.”

By Aug. 1 the 30 acres that used to be the high school and football stadium — and adjacent parking lots — will be a flat field, seeded with grass, said Monroe school officials.

The former high school, which was nearly a century old, was to have been demolished a decade ago after the new school building campus was built. The building was used several years ago by Butler Tech and Middletown City Schools as swing space during their building construction programs. The last time the district used the high school was in 2004.

Monroe Schools Superintendent Phil Cagwin said the sentimental value of the old school campus and football stadium, which for a time in the last century featured one of the largest prep grandstands in the region, aren’t lost on him.

“From what I’ve heard from community members here … that big old building is a place of many memories. Many of our Monroe citizens attended school there themselves or had children or grandchildren who attended school there,” Cagwin said.

Cagwin was a football coach for Lebanon Schools back in the 1970s and remembers his team playing before on overflow crowd at the old Monroe football stadium.

“It was clear there was a great deal of support and those stands were huge for this size of community,” he said.

Monroe's student enrollment continues to grow and district officials have said a new elementary or junior high is needed in the coming years and the former school site may someday hold a new school.

About the Author