Call it an opportunity to learn about the giving nature of the Council Bluffs community.
Staff and students at Bloomer Elementary School have been working to raise the estimated $15,000 needed to replace the original 1924 clock at the peak of the building’s east side. They have dubbed the campaign “Save the Clock. It’s time!”
Principal Kim Kazmierczak said the campaign, which started with an Oct. 21 kickoff, so far has raised about $6,000, with most of that coming from a generous lead gift from the Bloomer Parent-Teacher Organization.
The kickoff was highlighted by the presence of a DeLorean coupe owned by a school alumnus. A DeLorean was the “time machine” in the “Back to the Future” movies, along with a venerable clock in Hill Valley – stopped by a lightning strike – is a key part of the first “Back to the Future” film.
Showing their understanding of the remotely significant, Oct. 21 was also the date – in the movie – when Marty McFly traveled into the future in “Back to the Future Part II.”
T-shirts marking the campaign were available during the kickoff ceremony with proceeds from sales of the shirt earmarked for the campaign’s war chest.
Kazmierczak said that while no clock has been picked out yet, they do have a general idea what they would like.
“We do want it to be period-specific, and match the architecture of the building,” she said. “We want it to look old, act new.”
Along with some personally learned lessons about raising money for worthwhile projects, the current campaign offers some interesting historical highlights.
When the original Bloomer schoolhouse was built in 1880, the construction included a clock that was a popular feature. The clock’s time ran out early in the 20 century when the school board opted not to spend taxpayers’ money to repair what had become an ailing timepiece. The school board donated the ailing clock to the county, which repaired the timepiece and installed it in the Pottawattamie County Courthouse in 1924.
County judges, so the story goes, found the chiming annoying, so the bell was disconnected. County officials later had the entire clock tower removed.
When the new Bloomer school building was built in 1924, the design included an electric clock, but the clock’s mechanism was apparently removed at some point. What remains now is a wooden face that preserves the look of the clock.
The school will start a new phase of the “Time for a Change” fund drive on Dec. 3, Global Giving Tuesday. Students will help by bringing change to school.
“Our goal is to have this done by February so we can have the dedication in the spring,” Kazmierczak said.
The school is already located in one of Council Bluffs’ historic districts, and the project being proposed will provide a worthwhile addition to the neighborhood.
Some of the students attending Bloomer today are likely to remain in Council Bluffs, becoming a part of the city’s future leadership. “Time for a Change” offers those students an excellent opportunity to get their feet wet working on a worthwhile community improvement project.
This is yet another opportunity for members of the community of all ages to work together to reach a worthwhile goal.