Although I live in San Antonio, I try to follow events in my hometown of Arlington. I was pleased to hear of Saturday’s passage of the $663 million bond package.
As a product of Arlington schools, I understand the importance of maintaining an educational system that prepares students for the future.
As a practicing architect, I also understand that school facilities have finite lifespans and inevitably there comes a time when it is more practical to replace an obsolete building rather than renovate it.
Thus the proposed plan to demolish Hutcheson Junior High School is perfectly rational, although I do feel one part of that structure should be preserved: Its name.
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In the interest of full disclosure, I have a somewhat biased perspective on this matter. Guy C. Hutcheson was my grandfather.
That said, I do feel the Hutcheson story is a truly inspiring one that remains relevant.
Born into humble circumstances in Springtown, Hutcheson was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters.
Always a dedicated student, he earned a degree in the emerging field of radio engineering at Texas A&M University. With that technical education, he was able to launch a career that literally allowed him to see the world.
In the 1930s, he was the radio operator of a scientific expedition to Antarctica.
He returned to the U.S. a hero and in the 1940s worked as an engineer at CBS in New York.
After moving back to Texas and establishing an engineering company in Arlington, he became active in the community and served for two decades on the school board. Hutcheson was part of a generation of early Arlington professionals who selflessly helped build the city that we know today.
For his years of service, Guy C. Hutcheson Junior High was named in his honor.
Although his two children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren will always cherish our memory of him as a quiet man who spoke little of the amazing things he did over the course of his full life, we feel his story is of great value to current and future students.
The proposed career and technology center to be built on the site of the former Hutcheson Junior High would be an ideal facility to bear his name. His life is a case study in how a career in technology can create a world of opportunities.
Brantley Hightower grew up in Arlington and is a graduate of Dunn Elementary School, Young Junior High School and Martin High School. He teaches and practices architecture in San Antonio.