EDITOR’S NOTE: This continues our 2012-13 Speak Out Loud installment. On most Saturdays throughout the school year, the Denton Record-Chronicle will publish photos, opinions, features, news stories and more from high school student journalists and yearbook staffers in and around Denton. Speak Out Loud allows high school students to share their news and views with the Denton community and beyond.
For 25 years, they lived in a pleasant home on Linden Street with a beautiful agave tree growing in the front yard. Their unique home, built in the 1960s, could not have better suited Fritz Schwalm and his wife, Reneta, even though it was placed only feet from Denton High School.
On the morning of Feb. 10, 2008, the Schwalms woke up to a notice informing them that the high school was going to expand.
A new gym was going to be built right in the place of their home.
The couple were utterly distraught with the news, as leaving their comfy home was definitely not in their best interest.
“It was very devastating news, but I knew the high school had to be expanded,” Schwalm said. “We were expecting it to happen in a couple of years but not so soon. I’m a reasonable person and there was very little I could do to avoid it, so for the good of the community I had to yield.”
Fritz was aware that adding the new gym would benefit the school.
“Being a teacher myself I knew that the school should be properly equipped; therefore I agreed with the concept, but I was personally unprepared and upset,”Schwalm said.
Expanding the school towards Linden Street meant that two houses would have to be annexed/removed. Scott Brown, of Scott Brown Reality, was the owner of the second home on the land.
“I graduated from DHS in ’82 and my grandparents lived in that house when I went to high school,” Brown said. “I used to park in their driveway and only had to walk across the street to get to school. When my grandmother died, I bought the house from the family. When I found out that the school wanted to take the property, I was not angry at all.”
Brown had the house up for rent when the school offered to pay him for his property. The money offered was a fair price, so Brown started counting his options.
“I asked if I could just lift up the house and move it,” Brown said. “After they OK’d the idea, I began looking at the floor plan and decided that Fritz’s house was better for moving. I moved it to Crow Street. I rent the home to college students.”
The principal at the time of the expansion was Darrell Muncy, who is now the director of Student Support Services for the school district. It was December of 2007 when the bond was voted on and the idea to create a new gym for the students arose.
“I was the one who proposed the idea to create a new competition gym,” Muncy said. “There were several different options as to where to put the new gym including building out towards Fulton Street, but the architects and school board decided on buildingout towards Linden and taking the two properties by eminent domain.”
Construction began in the summer of 2008, and the new gym was ready for use by December.
“My initial goal was to build a gym that would hold the entire student population,” Muncy said. “The new gym can now hold 2,000 students so all can join in on the pep rallies. We used to have to filter out the students that weren’t wearing purple or gold because there was never enough room for everyone.”
The new gym has been very beneficial in Muncy’s eyes, and the students were very pleased with having a brand new competition gym in their historic school. The Schwalms and Brown know that their sacrifice was definitely worth it.
“We are very happy now and we agree that is was a good thing to happen,” Schwalm said. “We had our ups and downs with living next to the school, cars blocking our driveway and waking up from the school buses driving by, but now we don’t have these problems anymore.”
Fritz and his wife live happily in their new home.
“The school board treated us very decently, and we are very happy with the change after we settled in,” Fritz said.
JORDAN GILL is a sophomore at Denton High School and a participant in the Denton Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.