>Arlington School On Last Leg

>Bessemer School Superintendent Deborah Horn has been informed that the city might condemn and demolish Arlington school. If they do, the school board will have to pay the cost. Story

Arlington school was built in 1908 and was the city’s first high school. David Nichols offered to buy the school for $50,000 and restore it but the board refused his offer and upped the price, so the building remained empty and declined further.

So instead of receiving $50,000 for the school now the board might have to pay. And the city might lose one of its most historic landmarks.

Alabama Heritage Magazine described the property this way:

A fine example of classical revival school building from the turn of the last century, the Arlington School, built in 1908, was Bessemer’s first high school. Its most distinguishing features are the decorative brick and stone facade, interior sky-lighted basketball courts, and an auditorium in the form of a jewel box theatre with a raked floor, proscenium stage, and horseshoe balcony. Once a part of a thriving middle class neighborhood, the Arlington School was abandoned in the early 1980s. Now dilapidated and out of use, the school’s state of disrepair is indicative of the decline in the surrounding neighborhood…”

The school board, interested developers like Nichols, and the City Council need to work together quickly to save this building. With the burning of Red Rock across the street from the school there is a real opportunity to clean up the intersection. But demolishing Arlington school is not the way to do it.

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