1964 Move Recalled as 2019 Move Draws Close

November 11, 2019 / Andrea Wenger
Chapel panel featuring, left to right, Elwood Yoder (moderator), James Rush, Leo Heatwole, Lois Bowman Kreider, 2019
Chapel panel featuring, left to right, Elwood Yoder (moderator), James Rush, Leo Heatwole, Lois Bowman Kreider, 2019

A guest panel in chapel on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, helped current students think about the upcoming all-school effort to bless and move the K-5 students into their new building.

Panel members remembered their part in the 1964 move of Eastern Mennonite High School into a new building 801 Parkwood Drive, down the hill from Eastern Mennonite College. The college had grown out of the original Eastern Mennonite School, founded in 1917, which grew and expanded until it was time for the high school to separate and develop its own identity.

On the day of the move, students carried bound stacks of books (similar to the one pictured on the table) and walked the distance staying in line, into the new library where they delivered their books in careful order.

The storytelling helped to set the stage as the school anticipates a Dec. 6 move to a newly renovated building for the K-5 program.

Elwood Yoder, world cultures and Bible teacher pictured left, coordinated the panel. Panel members included: Jim Rush, long-time EMHS history and government teacher who spanned both school sites; Leo Heatwole ’68, an 8th grader on moving day and the second of four generations of EMHS alumni; and Lois Bowman Kreider, class of ’53, former parent and current grandparent.

Lois Kreider referred to her diary from 1964 at the chapel, confirming the move date as January 24, 1964. Elwood Yoder was delighted to see this primary source referenced. A good history lesson.

James Rush recounted other moves and building additions to help put this next move in perspective. In addition to the 1964 new building on Parkwood Drive, these include the 1968 purchase and use of Park School across the street (see article on Park School history), a 1972 fine arts addition, addition of a gymnasium in 1976, a dining hall/classroom and industrial arts building in 1987, and the 2005 auditorium/art/music and classroom addition.

The 94 students and 10 teachers and staff of Eastern Mennonite Elementary School will be moved into their own building on Dec. 6, 2019. The building has been renovated over the past two years, giving new life to a space known for decades as the MennoMedia building.

During the renovation, the K-5 program was lodged within the campus’ 1964 “upper” building where the middle and high school programs are housed at 801 Parkwood Drive. Prior to that, the elementary program was located for nine years off site on Route 11 north, and two years in the lower level of Lindale Mennonite Church, where it was launched in 2005.

Many volunteer hours, donor contributions and professional services by area businesses and EMS teachers, administrators and parents are making the milestone possible. A Jan. 28 celebration and dedication for the school community and general public is planned.

Open Houses for Prospective Families
Prospective elementary student families are invited to two Open House events:
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 9 to 10:30 a.m. (especially for parents)
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m. (bring the whole family).

Contact EMS Admissions to register or learn more: 540-236-6021 or admissions@easternmennonite.org

Check out some more photos from this story

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