Subscribe for 17¢ / day

POWERS – The Powers elementary building is turning 100 years old this year.

“It's like walking back through time when you step into that building,” said Matt Shorb, Powers School District superintendent.

The district is holding a centennial celebration at the school at 1 p.m. on Sept. 5 with all of the elementary and high school students, staff and former employees, as well as the community. The barbecue begins at 1 p.m.

“It is truly a building of a different era of schools,” Shorb said. “There's no front desk, no office building. It's been preserved well. The staff that has taken care of it has done a great job. It's a unique place for kids to attend school.”

Shorb and school board member Marl Robert Kalb Jr. went to elementary school in the district and graduated high school there. For Kalb, who met his future wife in the first grade in that building, it's a school that has seen generations walk through those halls. Now, his great-grandchildren attend the elementary school.

“Our community takes a lot of pride in the building and the campus,” Shorb said. “There's been generations of different families to go through there and holds a lot of special memories.”

For Shorb, he described it as strange because he remembers being in high school and visiting the elementary school and thinking, “Everything has shrunk.”

“It felt small,” he said. “It still feels that way.”

The district has looked into making the elementary building a historic landmark, but it didn't meet the necessary criteria for the certification.

“The building has been modernized and all the rooms have air conditioning,” Shorb said. “The windows are storm windows now. You can't go back to have the building be what it was in 1917.”

Not only has it been given new windows and updated to fit modern standards, but Kalb added that it has been re-roofed, the steps outside replaced two or three times, and a wall knocked down when two classes were combined.

“It used to flood in the basement, but even that has been fixed now,” Kalb said. “But the building has its original wood floors. It has been well kept over the years.”

Not only is the district celebrating the century-old building, but the elementary school is starting this new school year with a brand new playground.

Kalb laughed because some of the old playground equipment was sold during the alumni fundraiser over the summer, to former elementary students.

“They raised a few thousand dollars,” he said.

As for whether or not the building will still be standing in another 100 years, Shorb said he wasn't sure.

“I don't think anyone knows what the future holds,” he said. “But it's in good shape and serving a great purpose in Powers. We hope it sticks around for a lot longer.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.