What becomes of vacated school buildings in town

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1372205321&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4116917&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1372205321 type=script]BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Opportunity Academy at Riggins has been closed for about two years.

The Birmingham Beautification Commission Award sign hanging near the entrance may have been a source of pride one point in time, but there’s nothing beautiful about Riggins today.

“I have to speak to somebody about this because that’s horrible, that lot down there,” said Loraine Barker.

The building is disappearing behind towering weeds and stickers warn of video surveillance, but the power to the building has been cut.

“I know somebody’s doing something because the windows are being broken out.”

The broken windows are apparent points of entry for those looking to strip the school of anything valuable inside.

Loraine Barker lives two houses away from the school. She says the condition of it now, isn’t how she’d like to remember it.

“I did Tyrone Smith’s office, I decorated his office. I was quite impressed when they reopened it as the Academy at Riggins, it was an awesome alternative school,” she said.

Tyrone Smith was a principal at the school.

Barker would like to see the building turned into a community center or just kept in good condition until then.

Miles away in West End, Powderly Elementary also sits unused.

“It’s been closed for a while now, probably about two years,” said Lenora Williams.

Now owned by the city, the property is in better shape than Riggins, the doors are welded shut but there are visible signs of entry around the building.

“It’s a lot of traffic over there, different kind of cars, I don’t know really if it’s the school or just random people going in and out of the school?”

Lenora hopes, the old school is turned into something to soon.

Michaelle Chapman, spokesperson for Birmingham City Schools says, maintenance of grounds at closed facilities is to be addressed at least monthly.

To let the school system know about the condition of closed buildings you can call maintenance and operations at 231-2644.

And to see more images from Riggins School, including how it looks inside, you can view our photo gallery HERE. 


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