MEEKER I On Tuesday, Meeker High School will turn 60 years old. The new facility was dedicated Nov. 10, 1955, as Rio Blanco County High School.
The original dedication ceremony was sponsored by the County Board of Education, the Meeker Parent Teachers Association and the students. On Tuesday, Meeker High School and the school district administration plan a 60th anniversary recognition celebration at 7 p.m. in the high school gym. The public is encouraged to attend, especially anyone who had ties to the high school in 1955.
Elliott Roosevelt, a son of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gave the dedication’s keynote address then. This year’s keynote remarks will be from Ethel Starbuck, who was a 38 year-old commercial studies teacher at the time. Her late husband, Paul Starbuck, was the vocational/agriculture teacher and football coach.
Current MHS secretary Mandi Etheridge says she’s had a sneak preview of Starbuck’s recollections and “they are delightfully nostalgic.”
Elliott Roosevelt was a Rio Blanco County resident in the 1950s, living upriver at the Bar Bell Ranch (now Westland’s) with his wife, Minnewa Bell.
In memory of her father, Alphonzo E. Bell, Sr., of Los Angeles, Minnewa donated the White River School House at Buford, which had been a school until 1948, to the community in 1953. It is now owned and managed by the White River Community Club.
The high school is hoping some other participants in the 1955 dedication will be represented, if not by themselves, then by a member of their succeeding generations.
Other speakers at the 1955 dedication were the Rev. Wayne Schwindt of Meeker Methodist Church, Superintendent R.D. Swartz, Carol Lewis of Wheeler and Lewis Architects of Denver, and Joyce Proctor, board of education secretary. Other school board members then were President Bill Brennan, Treasurer M.F. “Brandy” Brandborg, Edna Winslett and Clark Brown. Marshall Steen was principal.
Total costs of the new high school construction in 1955 were figured at $956,920.79, a per-square-foot rate of $14.02.
Interestingly, this is not much more than the projected cost of next year’s football field and track repairs, which have been funded through a community partnership involving the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District, a Great Outdoors Colorado (state lottery dollars) grant and the Meeker Education Foundation.
The 1955 building costs were entirely paid by the county’s share of federal oil royalty monies.
Contractors for the new high school were Craftsman Construction Co. of Denver, general contractor; Park Hill Plumbing and Heating Co. of Pueblo, mechanical contractor; Horblit and Co., auditorium seating; American School Supply, gymnasium bleachers; Jim White, landscaping; and Jim Lockett, excavation of the football field.