Demolition of the original 1955 Sallie Cone Preschool structure has begun, per a Facebook post released by the preschool on Thursday. The demolition of the building, planned since the Conway Public Schools (CPSD) Board of Education approved a renovation of the preschool last summer, comes after renovation and construction work was finished on the campus’s existing structures.
As previously reported in the Log Cabin in June 2020, Sallie Cone Preschool has served the Conway community for over 65 years since it first opened in 1956. Named after longtime CPSD teacher Sallie Hildreth Cone, the preschool served as one of the district’s elementary schools until 2012 when Carolyn Lewis Elementary School opened on Old Military Road.
Multiple additions were made to the original 1955 structure that remain today, including ones in 1972 and 1991. Those structures underwent the renovations which began last summer and finished earlier this year. In June 2020, construction workers renovated the 1991 addition and added bathrooms to each of the building’s 14 classrooms. The 1972 addition had new paint, floors and ceiling tiles installed in its part of the renovation. Additionally, construction crews built a new safe room and cafeteria at the campus.
The decision to renovate Sallie Cone came after years of issues at the facility became worse, CPSD Support Services Director Jason Lawrence told the Log Cabin last summer. The 1955 structure’s narrow and dark hallways made walking down them difficult, while classrooms were smaller than modern standards, a relic of an era in which school building standards were minimal or nonexistent, Lawrence said.
Despite their sadness at beginning the demolition of the original structure, Sallie Cone Preschool looked to the future in their Facebook post.
“The old Sallie Cone Elementary building meant a lot to so many people in our community,” the preschool’s announcement read. “While it is sad to say goodbye, we are excited about the new changes and improved facilities for our youngest Wampus Cats.”