Saga continues at old Denison High School

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DENISON -- The fight to save the old Denison High School continues now with the help of money from Austin. The Texas Historical Commission has offered the city a chance to receive $50,000 to save the old building. The question is: Will the city accept that offer?

Old Denison High School was built in 1913, and 94 years later there are still a large number of residents wanting to keep it standing.

Now, their efforts have been boosted by the support of a state agency that is also intent on keeping the building upright.

"As far as the community is concerned it’s definitely an event that’s polarizing the community," said McClure.

Denison city councilman Jim McClure knows that saving old Denison High is important to many people. It’s just trying to find a way to accomplish that which is causing the commotion.

"The problem in my opinion is that the city is locked into a contract that if the city bails out on it would not be correct to ask the taxpayers to pay that," said McClure.

But finding the money to keep it up might not be so hard after all. On Friday afternoon, the Texas Historical Commission wrote a letter to Denison mayor Robert Brady offering the city a chance to apply for an emergency loan up to $50,000 in order to save the building.

Officials with the commission hope the mayor accepts the offer.

"The Main Street Program in Denison had been working with it for many years and even in the mid-‘90s we were looking at that building as an asset to the community, and that’s really the bottom line," said Terry Colley of the Texas Historical Commission.

It’s a bottom line which city officials agree with.

"Someone needs to occupy that building that generates activity in our downtown area for current businesses. That adds to businesses that come to visit," McClure said.

On Thursday, one citizen offered up $10,000 of his own money to halt the construction, but McClure says it will take a lot more to save the building.

Officials with the Texas Historical Commission is will do their best to help reach that goal.

"As long as the building is standing there is still hope, and the only thing we can do is to keep that building there until all options are thoroughly explored," said Colley.

City leaders are scheduled to discuss the matter during an executive city council meeting on Monday. Councilman Jim McClure says they'll look at all the factors in making their decision as what will be done with the building.

No word if Mayor Brady received the commission's letter. He couldn't be reached for comment on Friday.

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