Displaced TSAS Students, Teachers Start Over In Elementary School Building

Thursday, September 6th 2012, 6:36 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Thursday, the 300 students of the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, displaced by Wednesday morning's fire that destroyed their school building, started over at the empty Sequoyah Elementary building.

TSAS has decided after all this they'll take Friday off to re-group, before basically restarting their school year next Monday.

What were empty classrooms Wednesday are fully furnished now, following a 12-hour makeover orchestrated by Tulsa Public Schools.

9/5/2012 Related Story: TPS Offers Empty Elementary Building To Students Of Burned Tulsa School

There are no books or school supplies of any kind yet, but the school hopes to have what they need by Monday.

"We're going to try to get them back in something normal today and we won't have school tomorrow, to give the teachers a chance to breathe and figure out where their classes are, and then we'll be back to normal classes - as normal as we can get – Monday," said TSAS director Eric Doss.

Students arrived for class, where the first order of business was to brief them on the most immediate steps in the new building.

They'll stay at Sequoyah, at least, through the end of the year.

"We'll be working with TPS to talk about options for the future and, we don't know, it may be that we're here for a short period of time, it might be longer—we're just not sure," Doss said.

Their old school building, the former Barnard campus, is a smoldering wreck.

Nothing was saved.

9/5/2012 Related Story: Caught On Video: Fire, Explosion Destroy Tulsa School Of Arts And Sciences

TPS staff is already working on a demolition plan and talking about what to do with the site, but those decisions will have to be made by the school board.

"I don't know. That's one we'll have to take some time, we'll go to the school board with and talk about. What about that site? It's just too early to tell," Superintendent Keith Ballard said.

Sequoyah students are high schoolers - but they going into a building and a campus designed for elementary grades, that if they stay, will be further improved by TPS.

"We would need to improve parking in the back and we would need to make some other modifications to the school, but certainly this building is open," Ballard said. "At one time, I really thought we would sell this building."

TPS staff was met Thursday afternoon to talk about the insurance claim on the Barnard building, and what the options are for the site.

TSAS is gathering school supplies, and Saied Music Company is collecting and repairing instruments for the band. Click here for more information about their needs and how to help.