Parents, Students Share Memories Of Tulsa School Building Destroyed By Fire

Wednesday, September 5th 2012, 10:32 pm
By: News On 6

As quickly as the flames spread through the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, formally Barnard Elementary, so did word of the fire among current and former students.

Firefighters are still out at the command post, watching for hot spots on the fire, which started around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, and those who loved the school are sharing their memories of their time there.

"It's hard to see it closed, now to see it may be lost forever," said Sharon Taylor.

Taylor's four children and her grandson all went to Barnard Elementary.

"My daughter, when she finished college at TU, went back and was a teacher at Barnard," Taylor said.

Her love for the school started in 1982 and her feelings haven't faded, even if the pictures have.

"This is a big loss to a lot of people," Taylor said.

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

Firefighters say the building's size and old design made it quite the challenge. Barnard was built in the 1920s.

Many of the original features survived until Tulsa Public Schools shut the school down.

Taylor volunteered with the Barnard PTA and her kids were in the girl and boy scouts.

Parents helped build the reading benches around the tree in the background of one of Taylor's pictures.

They painted the flower mural that eventually covered an entire wall, and bought the drapes for the gymnasium stage.

"The schools didn't have A/C. We had a two-year campaign and raised the funds to put air conditioners in every room," Taylor said.

When you add up all the time, effort and memories invested in Barnard, you can see why it was more than just a school building to so many families.

Right now, it's unclear what will happen to the building, but at least Taylor's got many years' worth of Barnard memories.

Click here to see a Facebook page where former students, parents and teachers are sharing photos, including some from the first day of first grade at Barnard in 1960.

Meanwhile, the ATF is joining the Tulsa Fire Marshal's Office to investigate the fire.