- Associated Press - Sunday, May 1, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Linda Gomoll was introduced to Dubuque Senior High School’s courtyard 44 years ago, when she accidentally got trapped inside.

The Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1YVpWJC ) reports that while her husband, Robert Gomoll, interviewed for a teaching position, she decided to walk around the campus. When she walked out to the courtyard, she found all of the doors back in locked.

“I was trapped in the courtyard - a lovely place to be, but wasn’t what I had expected,” Linda Gomoll said recently, as she stopped by the courtyard for a final visit.

All turned out for the best, she said. Robert Gomoll taught English at the school for nearly 40 years.

The Gomolls were among more than 150 people who attended a social hour in the courtyard. They gathered to say goodbye to the decades-old green space, most of which will be taken up by a new two-story cafeteria that will be added during a $30 million expansion project.



Attendees viewed renderings of the planned renovations, including changes to the footprint on the courtyard.

Robert Gomoll, who penned Senior’s homecoming pep song, led the crowd in a rousing rendition of the tune during the event.

Jill Wolter, class of 1980, remembered different fundraising events that were held in the courtyard. One that stands out occurred in 1978, when a classmate of her husband, Tim Wolter, agreed to be tarred and feathered.

“They poured molasses all over her and they took feather pillows and dumped them on her,” she said with a laugh.

Tricia Behnke and Jenny Manders, who graduated in 1994, said the courtyard was the site of school dances when they were students.

“I think it’s too bad they’re losing the courtyard, but obviously they’re in a contained space so they have to expand where they can,” Behnke said.

Wolter and Linda Gomoll agreed they were a little sad the courtyard will have to be changed, but they understand why.

“I’m glad they’re keeping the (exterior) walls,” Wolter said. “I’ve always thought they were really cool, and I’m glad they’re preserving them.”

Josie Martin is in her last year at Senior. She said she is excited about the design of the new cafeteria and the library that will sit atop it.

“It’s so much natural light, tons of windows,” she said. “So, the experience you get from being in the courtyard with the natural light, it’s still going to be there.”

She said students use the courtyard for artistic purposes, like an open mic night held Monday and the spring production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Other planned building improvements include a new main entrance with an administrative wing and a new gymnasium.

Bill Burkhart, the district’s manager of buildings and grounds, said construction likely will start Aug. 9.

“Once we have a contractor on board, we can refine the completion date,” he said. “We’re optimistic it will take two years for completion.”

The project will be funded through 1-cent sales tax revenue.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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