For the February Advocate, fresh off the press this week, we wrote about Potter Art Metal Studios, the 90-year-old family-owned company that is restoring antique lights at Woodrow and J.L. Long.

Potter originally fabricated the lights when the schools were built in 1928 and 1933. Restoring the lights, which hopefully will extend their lives another 75-100 years, will cost $100,000. Potter also would like to restore 10 art deco-style lights that are in the J.L. Long auditorium, but there is no budget for that, and it would cost about $50,000.

A reader emailed today asking how in the world DISD could be spending $100,000 to restore lights, when it is closing successful schools and requiring teachers to work longer days because of budget cuts.

Woodrow and J.L. Long, two of the oldest schools in DISD, are getting $19 million in updates, which we wrote about in the April 2011 Advocate. That money comes from a bond package that voters approved in 2008. The money cannot be moved to the general fund or used in any other way because it must be spent in the manner for which voters approved it.

Potter has been known occasionally to restore lights the company originally built, as a service to preserve the city’s architecture, free of charge. If $50,000 cannot be found or raised somehow to restore the auditorium lights at J.L. Long, I would not be surprised if Potter opted to restore them, one by one, over many years.


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