Cooper Elementary School will open its doors to the public from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, for a farewell tour.
"I just think if you had fond memories of this building, it'd be neat to come back and take one last look before it comes down," Principal Aaron Lieberz said. "It's a pretty unique building."
Students will be released from the building, which opened in 1970, for the final time June 7. From June 10-12, teachers and staff will finish moving into the new Cooper Elementary School building, located next to the current school at 1807 Missouri Ave.
"We've gone through this process twice now, so we're extra excited to get it over with this time around," Lieberz said.
The new Cooper was under construction and on track to open for the 2018-19 school year when a fire broke out in the gymnasium area storage room and flared back up a day later in April 2018. The fire caused more than $1.5 million damage and led to a year-long reconstruction and cleanup process.
Demolition crews are expected to move in the week of June 10-14 to prepare for teardown of the old school.
"You'll start to see the equipment and fencing and containment happen and then the 17th they're going to start on the north end of the building," Lieberz said.
Once the old structure is gone, its footprint will be turned into parking lots and playground space. Construction on the grounds could continue through the end of August.
Lieberz said parents, families and community members have told him Cooper Elementary School is a big part of their neighborhood. At the spring concert, he heard grandparents in the audience saying this was their 25th concert in the building. Everyone with fond memories is invited to bring their Cooper stories to share Wednesday.
"Come take a walk through the halls one last time because it's coming down and we can't control that," Lieberz said. "Come take a walk through memory lane."
The event will include a PowerPoint presentation by students on continuous loop, artifacts on display in the library and tours led by retired teachers.
"I think we've got almost every single yearbook from Day 1," Lieberz said.
The new building, set to open for classes in the fall, will be the third incarnation of Cooper. The opening of the first is shrouded in some mystery. While an internet search turns up an opening date of 1902, retired teachers believe it was built in 1896 and Cooper school ledgers dating back to 1896 have been found.
The new school project was approved by Superior voters in 2016 as part of a $92.5 million building referendum that also included renovation of Superior High School.