We are glad to hear that at least some of the items from the Attleboro High School pool dedicated to the memory of late coach and teacher William Dentch will be getting a good home.
Specifically, they’ll be going to the home of his son, Chris.
What disturbed us, and what should bother AHS alumni, fans and local citizens were the plans to sell or trash items from the pool site announced by the school recently.
The unexpectedly early closing of the school’s 50-year-old pool, home to not only the AHS swim team but also the teams from Bishop Feehan High School and the private Bluefish Swim Club, has already caused some hard feelings in the area for reasons that have nothing to do with education.
Attleboro is in the process of building a new, $260 million high school that will be, in many ways, a state of the art educational facility that should serve the needs of the city’s students well into this century.
One amenity it won’t have, however, is a swimming pool. State aid, on which the city is depending to keep costs under control, won’t cover such facilities. That’s unfortunate but perhaps unavoidable.
What was avoidable was the somewhat ham-fisted way in which the city went about closing the current pool and disposing of its accoutrements.
Officials decided to declare the pool equipment surplus, even including the lettering that spells out “William F. Dentch Natatorium.” All that could be sold or trashed.
William Dentch was a popular teacher and swim coach at Attleboro High School for decades.
He taught physics and science for 34 years and coached the girls swim team for 21 years and the boys swim team for 15 years.
Dentch died in 2000 at the age of 57 after a battle with cancer.
His teams won more than 200 meets and he was elected to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Hall of Fame.
Declaring those items only worthy of disposal would seem to be a poor tribute to a beloved educator and mentor.
Attleboro has shown it’s not always a good custodian of its history. The Tappen House might have been preserved and the future of the city’s ornate public library seems to be up in the air.
It wouldn’t seem to be too much to ask that a space dedicated to someone many in the city still remember be treated with more respect.
Now, however, the city says it will preserve and refurbish a plaque dedicated to Dentch from the pool area and give it a place of honor in the new school.
And that’s a hopeful sign, we think.