The turning of the chronological odometer from 2019 to 2020 caused me a bit more reflection than usual during my family’s crooning of “Auld Lang Syne” last week.
If you don’t get my reference to odometer above, that is probably because you were never a kid in a family car back when odometers were those little wheels that actually turned on the dashboard rather than the current digital, i.e. boring, read-outs.
Back then, even the switch to a new thousand miles was a dramatic event as five wheels made the switch in synchronized splendor. When you topped 100,000, it was worth slowing way down for so you could bask in its reflected, automotive glory.
The same is true for the switch to a new decade, though it seems less fascinating these days when so many of us were there the night a year, decade, century, and millennium all flipped. (And, as an aside, I do acknowledge the argument that a decade doesn’t switch until after the zero-year lapses, but I side with the popular majority simply because the issue is relatively unimportant and, hey, they are the popular majority.)
2020 holds an emphatic interest for me for a number of reasons. First, I spent an awful lot of my years anticipating the day when the 20th century would become the 21st century.
It took forever to get from 1963, my birth year, to 2000. So how could the subsequent 20 years go screaming by? At this rate, I’ll be dead by next week. Or what seems like next week. (And if that proves prescient, please go buy me a lottery ticket. Oh, wait, never mind.)
Second, though I didn’t personally experience the “Roaring Twenties,” as a student of American history, I have studied them extensively and this is the first described decade for me for which a century has turned. What are the chances this decade will roar as well?
What would the 21st century version of flappers and Art Deco be anyway? I don’t believe history repeats itself but I am open to the notion, as Mark Twain reputedly said, that it rhymes. If so, we could be in for rollicking times. I suppose we’ll all find out together. Could be fun.
Third, for some reason, it dramatically moves up the reality the Mitchell School District has been planning for over much of the last decade, the construction of a new Mitchell High School in 2025. At least perceptually. Suddenly, people aren’t just offering polite smiles about such a development but asking some thoughtful questions.
Here are a few I’ve recently been asked:
“Does 2025 mean it is finished that year or that construction starts that year or that planning starts that year?”
“Where will it be built?’’
“Are we finally going to have sufficient gym space so our kids don’t have to practice so darned early in the morning? Can we get better/more space for science labs, the library, the cafeteria, etc.?”
“What’s it going to cost?”
“Will that mean a bond issue?”
“Is this a sure thing?”
And the answers are:
I’m not sure.
Probably on the current high school campus as we have a pretty extensive plot of ground and doing so will save land acquisition costs.
Not sure what the final price tag will be.
Yes, it will require a bond issue, though the School Board has been proactive in putting some money aside ($6 million by 2025) for this project and has reduced the size, and thus cost, of the project by recent renovations of the MCTEA/Second Chance areas and the construction of a performing arts center, including classrooms for instrumental and vocal music as well as dramatics.
No, it’s not a sure thing. But it is in the plans and, thus, the works.
But, relax. A 2025 target date for this project doesn’t mean we will be engaging architects this year or next. We still have time.
It’s just that the time we have seems to go by more and more quickly each day.