The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 23, 2012

Joplin school board to discuss ‘Hope High School’ sign

JOPLIN, Mo. — The future of the “Hope High School” sign at the site of the old Joplin High School will be up for discussion by the Board of Education when it meets Tuesday.

Board President Randy Steele said the sign, which sits at the southwest corner of 20th Street and Indiana Avenue, has been a “hot topic of discussion” in recent weeks.

The sign was damaged in the 2011 tornado, which ripped away the “J,” “L,” “I” and “N” letters from the word “Joplin.” Shortly afterward, several pieces of duct tape were placed on the sign around the remaining letters, “O” and “P,” to form the word “hope.”

Superintendent C.J. Huff has expressed his commitment to preserving the sign, which he said has become somewhat of an icon in Joplin since the tornado. He recently said the primary challenge in moving the sign will be its size, as it extends into the ground nearly as deep as it rises above the ground.

Steele said board members on Tuesday plan to discuss how to move the sign as well as where it should be moved, whether it be storage, the new high school or the Joplin Museum Complex.

“We’ve had some people concerned about what we’re going to do with it and where we’re going to put it,” he said. “There’s a lot of options out there, and we just want to make sure we’re going to make the right decision.”

Steele said the subject of moving the sign would possibly be a discussion-only item on Tuesday, without any formal decisions being made.

“Whether a vote takes place, I don’t know,” he said.

There is no pressing immediacy in moving the sign, but board members want to have it moved by the time construction crews — and their heavy equipment — move onto the site to begin building the new Joplin High School, Steele said. Most of the site work until now has involved moving utilities and preparing the land for a foundation.

“We’ve got to start thinking about getting that sign moved pretty quick,” he said. “We want to make sure we preserve it. It’s something that’s been a part of the community; we want to make sure it’s something that’s there for the community.”

In other business Tuesday, the board will discuss and vote on a set of five district goals, commonly referred to as the Standards of Excellence, and hear construction updates for Irving Elementary School, East Middle School, Franklin Technology Center and Joplin High School.

Meeting details

The Joplin Board of Education will meet for a work session at 5:30 p.m. and its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St.

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