HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The 'GHS' sign in front of Grissom High School on Bailey Cove Road has been in its current location since 1972. There it will stay, when students and teachers move to the school's new location next year.
The monument was a gift from the Class of 1972. There have been questions about whether it would make the move to the new campus, so WHNT News 19 checked with Huntsville Board of Education member Elisa Ferrell, whose district includes Grissom.
Ferrell said a number of people have evaluated the monument, including Superintendent Tom Drake, Grissom Principal Rebecca Ballentine, Assistant Principal Bo Coln, architects and a builder. They expressed serious concerns that moving it would cause structural damage.
"The design, age and deterioration from the elements prevents it from being moved without damage or major break," Ferrell said. "They have all determined that the narrow design of the letters on the top of the monument would not survive the removal from the current location and would break and render it irreparable."
Grissom's current campus will turn into a new library and community center. Ferrell said Huntsville City Schools arranged for the monument to stay on site when the contract with the city was negotiated. She said her understanding is the school system has asked for the monument to be worked into the landscape design as a memorial to the founding location of Grissom High School.
"I was hopeful the big GHS could make the move, but I would personally rather have it stay intact on Bailey Cove, commemorating the heritage of the site, rather than risk it being destroyed in the move," Ferrell said.
The site of the new Grissom High School is on National Boulevard off of South Memorial Parkway, on acreage behind Home Depot, Lowe's and Sam's Club. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 and will include a large courtyard that could be home to something new, Ferrell suggested.
"It would be the perfect place for current and past GHS students to install a new monument commemorating the excellence of their school," said Ferrell.
The gallery below shows artist renderings of what the new library and community center will look like once construction is finished.