Gifts in previous years have ranged from planting flowers to repainting areas of the school, but the class of 2012’s gift will be particularly special – the restoration of the school’s long-lost bell.
The 617-pound bronze bell was cast in 1898 and tolled out the hour for many years on the school campus. But after the original tower began to fall into disrepair, the bell itself went missing for years. Several weeks ago, the bell was rediscovered, half-buried behind other items in the high school bus barn.
Now, the class of 2012 is attempting to restore the old bell to its former glory, and the students are hoping the citizens of Moab will help them do it.
The senior class has announced that their contribution towards restoring the bell will be to pour the cement pad for the base on which the bell will stand. Maralee Francis, a spokesperson for the project, added that the seniors wanted to get the work on the base started as soon as possible. The remainder of the restoration will be completed by others in the community, she said.
“What the senior class is trying to do is to get the beginning of this bell process started... [They are trying] to raise money to get the cement pad, the base, poured,” Francis said. “From then on, [Tom] Keogh has said he’ll be doing the metal work that the bell itself will hang from, since he’s the parent of one of the seniors… and we have that part already in the works.”
Other details related to the restoration are still being negotiated. The bell is still in working condition, but some other finish work must be done, Francis said.
“Some of the finish work is still being negotiated,” said Francis. “Once we have the foundation in place there’s been a lot of talk about making the whole structure look like an arch. But then we have people who want to make it out of stucco, or brick... One idea we’ve had is that the student council would cut it out of sheet metal and do the finish work that way, but the finish work is all up in the air right now.”
Francis said the senior class hopes to have the entire project finished by the beginning of the next school year. The plan is to pour the base in an empty spot near the high school football field so that it could be rung at sporting events, she said.
“Our goal right now is to have it ready to ring at the first home football game next year,” Francis said.
To help cover the expense of purchasing and pouring the concrete base, the senior class is currently seeking help from the community – asking people to donate their time, money, or materials to help build the base.
For more information, or to provide help, contact Francis at Grand County High School, 435-259-8931, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate money for the projects, checks can be made out to Grand County High School, with a note that the money is to go toward the bell project.