Ten Years After Fire, Old Sallisaw High School To Become City Park

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SALLISAW (KFSM)-- A high school burned down because of arson more than a decade ago, and now an alumni group wants to transform the remains of the building into a city park.

Bob Jamison, a member of the Old Sallisaw High School Alumni Association, presented a proposal before the Sallisaw City Council to preserve the old Sallisaw High School.

“We're going to make it a centerpiece of downtown to try to bring people back down here, and try to show them that hey, we're trying to beautify our city,” Jamison said.

He said the goal of this project is to preserve memories.

“All of us can walk up in front of that door way, and you can hear your boots walking up the old wood floors. You can hear Mr. Stites telling you get out of the hall,” Jamison said.

Jim Hudgens serves on the Sallisaw City Council, and said the old high school is an attractive nuisance.

“It's been vandalized time and time again, and we were in the process of going to tear it down,” Hudgens said.

The council motioned Monday night (Sept. 14) to hand the deed to the old high school and the property over to the alumni association.

“Hopefully they can raise the money because it's more than just fixing it because it's going to have to be maintained over a long period of time to keep it from falling in disrepair again,” Hudgens said.

While Hudgens did agree to give up the deed, he said he is skeptical.

“We're going to give them he opportunity,” Hudgens said. “We're going to deed it to them, and to see if they can make a go of it. If they can't then at some point it will be right back to where we are today.”

Jamison said he is confident that the community will support this and help it be successful.

'I, for one, am just tickled to death that we got it, and we can get started,” Jamison said. “I mean, if we fail, we're going to fail as a group, and if we succeed, it's going to be a success as a group.”

Jamison said he estimates the project to cost about $50,000 and take a year to complete.