by AMANDA RUNION
Walking the halls of St. Mary’s classroom building, Tiffin University students see nothing out of the ordinary: dull walls, bland doors, mismatched floor tiles. But for some of us, the St. Mary’s building wasn’t always like this. It was full of color, its walls were covered with artwork only a parent could love, and kids roamed the halls, ranging from preschoolers to eighth graders – because, although many TU students may not know, St. Mary’s was once a lively elementary school.
Many classrooms are still haunted with lingering memories for the former school’s alumni. When Emily Weiker, a TU graduate, attended classes in this building, the memories were given a chance to come back to life.
“I took a diversity class on the second floor – it was my second grade classroom,” Weiker stated. “My diversity class was at 8 a.m., and it was surreal to get ready in the morning to ‘go to school.’ Most of the students in my [college] classes were not from Tiffin, and they thought it was pretty neat when I shared that I had been in that classroom for second grade.”
Amanda Traxler, a junior at TU, shared a similar sentimental feeling.
“It’s weird to be having college classes in rooms that I was in for preschool,” Traxler said. “I learned my ABCs in this room.”
The P.A. speakers still hang on the walls in rooms, the radiators still resonate the same, even the colors in the bathrooms are still the same bright colors they were decades ago.
“I thought it was really exciting to receive my college education in the same rooms where I learned basic education,” Weiker stated. “Literally all of my memories from elementary school and junior high took place inside that building. My first dance, plays, band concerts – everything.”
Maureen McCartan, the owner of McCartan’s Grocery, located next to Sabaidee Coffee House, was happy to see the building being used.
“If you’re not keeping the building up – or any building for that matter – it deteriorates. [Tiffin University’s use of the St. Mary’s building] is a win-win for both St. Mary’s Parish and Tiffin University,” she said.
McCartan’s has sat at the same location since 1875, and Maureen McCartan has worked there for the past 45 years.
McCartan reminisced about the school once being an elementary school, noting that at the end of the school day or during after-school games, the kids would come for candy that the mom-and-pop store had next to the entrance.
“I never thought St. Mary’s would close [before McCartan’s],” she stated. “I remember being in those rooms, and being really hot, but as a kid, I didn’t care.”
Any student who has a class in the St. Mary’s building on a hot day knows that the heat retention hasn’t changed.
The St. Mary’s building not only sits on the corner of Sandusky and Miami, but also sits within the hearts of the children that attended as well. As each semester of college students pass through the halls, the memories become more distant, but for the residents of Tiffin, seeing the building still being used is a sign of growth.