Marilyn Eggleston has a lot of school spirit.
For nearly 25 years, Eggleston served as community liaison for Ivywild Elementary School. She helped high-risk kids and filled nearly any need the school had, from running student government to scheduling parent-teacher conferences to instructing art classes.
The 58-year-old is also native to the surrounding neighborhood, and lives in a house not far from the one in which she was born. Now, four years since the district shuttered the school, she comes to our interview with an Ivywild Wildcats hoodie and nothing but love for the new life her school has taken on.
"I think everybody sees that it's not only going to survive, but it's going to thrive," she says, "and it's going to give new life to the neighborhood. It's going to put us on the map; it's going to clean up the area; [and] it isn't going to be demolished and apartments put in, or that sort of thing."
And while the new Ivywild School's brews and bruschetta are lovely, it offers something most other mixed-use rehabs don't: a unique artistic touch from its former days. It comes courtesy of Eggleston herself, who hand-painted murals in the bathrooms and hallways of the building, all of which will be kept in the school's new incarnation.
Acting on an early '90s School District 11 directive to incorporate more science into the curriculum, Eggleston (née Lane) gathered topics from Ivywild teachers — flowers, dinosaurs, the solar system — and painted them in the boys and girls bathrooms. Later on, based on the educational series The Voyage of the Mimi, she painted an enormous aquatic scene on a wall downstairs. Elsewhere, a jungle adorns a garden-level bathroom, and a crowd of multinational kids flows down the south stairwell. And all those tiles cascading down the north stairwell? Students made those with Eggleston's help.
The former school employee estimates she spent several thousand hours working on all the murals. On top of that, she took it upon herself to learn to throw pottery on a wheel so she could teach the students. After all, she says, "over the years, 75 percent of the time, we didn't have an art teacher."
Eggleston also served as unofficial historian of the place. For the school's 75th anniversary in 1991, she unearthed photos from the '20s, when it was called "The Lady on the Hill." (Also notable: a World War II-era image of a truck with a sign on the side that read, "Whip the Japs with Ivywild scrap!") She also researched alumni, like Colorado Supreme Court Justice Leonard Sutton, former mayor Bob Isaac and Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira.
Eggleston now works as a community liaison at North Middle School. But if she personally misses the tight-knit elementary-school atmosphere of her old stomping grounds — where her last office space now serves as Bristol Brewing's merch room — she can also appreciate the new way it will embrace community.
"It isn't going to necessarily look like the old Ivywild, and it certainly isn't going to behave like the old Ivywild," she says, "but I think it's just going to be a really cool place for all those kids and all those staff members to come back and have a beer, or a bun, or whatever they want."