Some Yale Residents Want To Save Old School

Wednesday, June 3rd 2009, 5:58 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

YALE, OK -- Controversy is brewing in a small Oklahoma town where an historic building is being torn down.  Some in Yale are upset the old high school is fading into history.

The school district says the building isn't safe and has to come down immediately, but some residents feel the district hasn't down enough to protect the historic building and they're worried about everything that's still inside the old high school.

Piece by piece the old Yale High School is disappearing.  The building has been vacant for more than a decade, but it still holds its share of memories.
"Plus a lot of heartaches, we're all just sick over it," said La Wanda Dawes of Yale.

La Wanda Dawes is a 1945 graduate of Yale High School.  She's joined some of her fellow alums, to fight for the 71-year-old building.

"First of all it makes me very, very sad," said Bill Heilmann of Yale.

Bill Heilmann and the other residents want to turn the old building into a performing arts center.  They say the district is throwing away a perfectly good chance to expose its students to the fine arts.

"We have no auditorium here in Yale," said Bill Heilmann.

"I hate to see it torn down, but when it comes to safety issues," said Yale Superintendent Mike Wilson.

He says preserving the building is simply not safe for the students.

"With the children around it, the bricks falling off the outside, the deterioration of the roof, the floors caved in," said Yale Superintendent Mike Wilson.

But, the frustration for the residents goes beyond losing the building.  It's what's been left inside that has them boiling over.

"Typewriters, printers, computers, trophies," said Jim Lewis of Yale.

Superintendent Wilson says the only items left in the building are beyond repair.  In most cases, either broken or infected with mold and he insists there are no student records or transcripts.
"There is no records in it and, in fact, everything that is in it has been accumulated for the past 15 years," said Superintendent Mike Wilson.

Still, some Bulldogs say it's hard to watch the building fade away and they wish the district would have given them more time to save history.

The district is going to build a new junior high building and cafeteria on the land.  But, the superintendent says it's possible a new auditorium could be built there as well.