Two landmark former schools in north Jefferson County are headed for demolition.
The original Corner School building and its adjoining gymnasium, as well as the former Warrior Elementary School building, were all declared surplus by the Jefferson County Borad of Education in their regular monthly meeting Thursday.
The old Corner building was built in the 1920s, and last housed classes in 2012. That’s when the high school grades moved to the new facility on Warrior Jasper Road. It’s been used for storage since then, according to Mike Manning, principal of the middle school grades.
“It’s been used for storage since then,” he said.
The gymnasium, which dates back to the 1950s, has still been in use.
“We use it every day for assemblies and such,” Manning said. “We’ll move all that over to the competition gym across the road.”
Supt. Craig Pouncey said that demolition would take place as soon as contracts were let and signed. “It will happen as soon as possible after that,” he said.
The Warrior building faces a similar fate, although city council member Chuck Mosley said that a local group was hoping to save the building — and was caught by surprise that the vote for demolition had taken place just hours before they held a meeting Thursday night.
“They had scheduled a meeting with Dr. Pouncey for Oct. 8 to talk about the building,” Mosley said.
The facility is located at the end of Poplar Street, not far from the Warrior River Locust Fork. It was built in the early 1960s as North Jefferson School, an all-grades school for African-American students in the days of segregation.
When schools were desegregated in the late 1960s, high school grades moved to Warrior High School. For at time the old school held junior high grades, according to Manning, who taught there.
Later, those students moved in with the high school, and the old school became Warrior Elementary. It served that purpose until the closure of the high school, which then became home to the elementary grades.
The old school was closed, but the county system rented the building out as a church pastored by Rev. Oscar Turner, Mosley said.
“His church rented it out on a month-to-month basis for eight years,” Mosley said. “They left to move into their own building not long ago.”
In addition to the schools, the board also declared Jimmie Trotter Stadium — the former football home of Mortimer Jordan High School — as surplus, but did not set it for demolition or any other purpose as of yet.
The stadium is located across the street from the old Jordan campus, now the Burkett Center for the Multi-Handicapped in Morris. The stadium has seen use by various minor league football teams since Jordan moved to its new campus in Kimberly.
In other business, the board voted to hire a RKR Planning Services to study the system’s school feeder pattern over the next three months, with a eye toward adjusting them to meet changes in population patterns.
It would be the first time since 1972 that the patterns have been adjusted; at that time it was done as part of the desegregation process, under the watchful eye of the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We’ve had so much spot annexation since 1972, things have really changed,” board member Tommy Little said.
Pouncey said that the firm would help JefCoEd make changes that would comply with still-existing oversight by the federal agency.
Board President Jennifer Parsons, wished that the system had undertaken such a study some years back.
“If we had done something like this, we might have known that Fultondale Elementary would be bursting at the seams in two years,” she said.