BA Alumni Start Movement To Save Historic Tiger

Monday, June 22nd 2015, 11:54 pm
By: News On 6

The tiger that's lived in the halls of Broken Arrow's first high school for nearly 50 years has been the hot topic among several alumni lately.

They're concerned the part of Broken Arrow history will be destroyed when a new sports complex is built, and that concern is quickly spreading on Facebook.

Overnight, the Save the BA Tiger Facebook page has received almost 1,500 likes. People from the Class of 1958 to the Class of 2007 have commented, but the mission means the most to one person.

A day after Father's Day, Jim Ragsdale was at what he calls his second home, Broken Arrow's first high school.

"This is my last connection to my dad that I can touch and I can see," Jim Ragsdale said. “He was not only my father, I just revered him greatly, you know.”

Ragsdale's dad was the former principal of what is now known as North Intermediate, which is no longer a school, but as a baby, Ragsdale crawled the halls then walked them as a student.

"I know every nook and cranny of these buildings," Ragsdale said.

He was back because of the mosaic inside the doors.

"We installed four poles surrounded with a velvet rope and dad had a meeting with all the kids one day and he said, 'Nobody steps on that tiger. Nobody,'" said Ragsdale.

But the school is changing.

With bond money, the football fields will become a soccer fields, the gym will get a major renovation and an alumni center will be built to feature memorabilia - it'll be the district sports complex.

"They said, 'Well, you know they're going to demolish the tiger?' I said, 'Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no,'" Ragsdale said.

District Spokesperson Shelli Holland-Handy said the tiger is part of history and will be preserved.

"We can certainly understand the importance of the mosaic and, again, we want to make sure that we do everything we can to preserve it and that we are listening to what our constituents want as we move forward," she said.

As evidenced by the Facebook posts, the mosaic is important to many, but it means more to Ragsdale.

"This is about hanging on to some of the heritage and history of Broken Arrow High School," he said.

The district has not started any construction on North Intermediate.

They are trying to figure out exactly how to remove the mosaic without damaging it.