TPS Offers Empty Elementary Building To Students Of Burned Tulsa School

Wednesday, September 5th 2012, 7:30 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Wednesday morning's fire is making a big impact on the teachers and students from the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.

They lost their building and everything in it, just three weeks into classes, but they will not lose much class time.

Tulsa Public Schools made a quick decision to offer up Sequoyah Elementary, but that was easier said than done.

The building was in good shape, but empty and dusty from sitting empty all summer.

TPS support workers from every division of maintenance arrived to clean up the school inside and out and move in 300 desks for students and teachers.

"We sent legions of people, we sent armies to Sequoyah to clean up the grounds and get the classrooms ready, said superintendent Keith Ballard. "It's imperative that we get those students in school."

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

At the Barnard site, students from the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences were emotional over what they had lost, after putting so much into the building.

"Everyone was just devastated, because it was a brand new school building," said student Carly Hughes. "I spent a lot of time this summer here just painting and cleaning, and now after 15 days of use, it's gone."

Eric Doss is the director of the school, which was, for the first time, in a real school building.

"It's heartbreaking. We have worked very hard, our community, to build this building into a home, which we hoped would be a permanent home for us," Doss said.

The students spent the day at All Souls Unitarian Church, while the school was burning.

They didn't have classes, instead spending the day talking about the loss and writing notes of thanks to the firefighters.

"At first we thought it would just be the teachers and administrators gathering to figure out what to do next, but then we figured out that the students needed a place to come and grieve and share their loss of their brand new school building," Ballard said.

School starts here Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.

More changes will come with a little more time as the school building is transformed from an elementary to high school for this year.

TSAS will also have to decide if they want to stay here permanently.