By Kevin Kelley
The old Red Brick Schoolhouse that once stood on Dover Center Road may be gone, but it is definitely not forgotten.
In 2011, bricks from the demolished building were used to create Westlake’s Founders Walk at Clague Park. During the city’s bicentennial year of 2011, residents and friends of the city had the opportunity to purchase bricks and have their names or those of loved ones engraved on the bricks in celebration of the city’s bicentennial.
Now Westlake City Schools has created another way in which to memorialize the Red Brick Schoolhouse. On Sept. 27, a memorial stone plaque, set in a boulder, was unveiled outside Lee Burneson Middle School, just a few yards from where the building once stood.
The monument will eventually be moved to a plaza, to be called the Red Brick Plaza, that will link Lee Burneson Middle School and the future Dover Intermediate School together. The boulder encasing the monument was found during the construction process.
Built in 1909, the Red Brick housed students up through 1968, when the school district made the building its headquarters. The building had been unoccupied between 2003 and its demolition in December 2010.
During the dedication ceremony, Board of Education President Tom Mays said it was important for the district to understand its history if progress was to be achieved.
“The Westlake City Schools was adamant, when we started building the new schools, that we were able to keep a lot of our history, so that we could show people, as they’re coming through the schools, what Westlake has gone through and how we’ve built and where we’ve progressed to,” Mays said.
Superintendent Dan Keenan said the tradition of excellence established by those who preceded today’s students and educators can serve as an inspiration.
“One of the greatest advantages we have here in Westlake is a longstanding tradition of excellence in our schools,” Keenan said. “It goes back for decades. It’s built on the experiences of many who have done great things here in the Westlake City Schools. It’s built by people who have shared the very same mission that we do today, held the same values and traveled the same path that our students, staff and community members experience herein Westlake. Harnessing that tradition helps us focus on our mission of excellence and allows us not to waver in our goals, because we know our dreams are attainable here.”
Keenan noted that the front archway and additional bricks from the Red Brick Schoolhouse will be included in the art wing of the new Westlake High School.
Dave Puffer, the district’s manager of the school construction project, lifted a sheet from the boulder to unveil the monument, which was created by Milano Monuments.