Judy Carter, a secretary at Voris Community Learning Center, grabbed a camera and ran out the back door when the rumbling started Wednesday.
Principal Ione McIntosh raced to the roof to glimpse a better view of the demolition.
Both watched as the old Voris Elementary and a piece of Akron history tumbled to the ground. The 1930 building represents a community with historically strong ties to its school.
“This community was so close-knit. It was a neighborhood school,” said Carter, a secretary at the new and old elementary buildings since 1994. “I’ve got an attachment.”
At Voris CLC on Thursday, Carter and McIntosh recalled the ground-shaking event.
Carter threw her hands in the air and made sharp, jerking motions to illustrate the demolition off Glenmount Avenue. “Boom, boom, boom,” she said of what she heard.
“It’s just crumbling before our eyes,” McIntosh recalled of her bird’s-eye view atop the new Voris building.
And from the plumes of dust, a piece of history, buried beneath the old elementary and thought to be lost, emerged.
The stenciled words read “To the Future 1976-2076,” but they give no indication of what lies within the time capsule uncovered Thursday. It was commissioned to the ground at Voris Elementary on June 4, 1976, and unearthed 63 years too early.
The 2-foot-long cylinder, about 8 inches in diameter, rests in the boiler room at Voris CLC, about a football field away from the demolition site. The canister is intact, sealed with concrete and cast in a heavy metal — built to last a century.
Since the district placed a fence around the old elementary near Waterloo Road, the time capsule isn’t the only thing that has been disturbed in the past two weeks. The community has rallied behind the building and, at times, against a district they feel did not give the community cornerstone a proper farewell.
And that’s just what McIntosh intends to do.
“With any change, it evokes emotion,” McIntosh said. She plans to give the old elementary building a fond farewell in May, perhaps an outdoor ceremony. She also would like to present the time capsule to anyone who might turn out.
In the meantime, the community has voiced concerns about the loss of an iconic piece of history.
The Akron Board of Education addressed the public at its most recent meeting, saying that the property has not been sold. The announcement came in response to rumors that community members had attempted to remove bricks and even doors as keepsakes.
Facebook posts for the group “I went to VORIS Elementary School Too!” chronicle the deconstruction. The group’s 462 members and Voris Elementary alumni lament about the building’s demolition.
The time capsule was among several buried items noted on a blueprint of the old elementary plot. It’s listed as “Item #26.”
But no one expected it to be there.
About five years ago, a teacher and former student rented a metal detector and set out to find the time capsule, which the teacher feared would be lost amid demolition.
After rumors circulated that a group of students had uncovered the canister, Wendi Miller gave up looking. She was a first-grader when the time capsule went into the ground and is now the PTA president at Voris CLC.
Efforts to reach her for this story were unsuccessful.
McIntosh plans to put the time capsule back in the ground near the new Voris. She respects the wishes of the students who sealed the canister for a century.
She said a formal farewell and a rededication of the time capsule could help the community say their goodbyes to the old elementary building.
Voris Elementary students transferred to the new CLC after construction was completed in 2007. Rimer Elementary students then moved into the old Voris building while the district constructed the new Rimer CLC. That school was dedicated in 2009.
“There was never really that formal closure of [Voris Elementary],” said McIntosh, who plans to announce the farewell date to the public after working out details with district administrators and PTA members.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.