What will happen to old Central Middle School building?

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - There is an empty building with asbestos issues in the center of town, and the school system that owns it is trying to figure out what to do with it.

Central Middle School has been empty since the summer. The students are at the new school and the old building is being used as storage for desks and equipment. The longer it sits, the more damaged it becomes.

"We have the issue of asbestos in the building; asbestos in the floor, asbestos in the ceiling, those can be addressed," said Michael Faulk, Superintendent of Central Schools.

Monday night, the school board will hear from residents in the City of Central about what they would like done to the space.  Right now, the superintendent says the school is being used to hold surplus materials.

A question posted on the City of Central's Facebook page has gotten several suggestions from some. There are those who say tear it down. But others want parts of the school preserved. The school has been in the same location since the 1920's and Superintendent Faulk says when years ago, it housed 1st through 12th grade.

Even the flagpole in front bears a stamp from a class from 1930. The girls gym has been here since 1927, some want that portion to be saved and turned into a museum. Faulk says when the school system separated from East Baton Rouge, they deemed the girls gym unsafe because tie rods were holding it together.

The auditorium on campus has been chained shut because of asbestos issues.  No one has been inside it since 1989.

The corner where the school sits is also the center of the city.  Some have commented why not make it a governmental complex, where the school system, city hall and police station would all be centrally located.  For the school system, Faulk says that idea could work.

"Moving school board office there, right now we lease this facility.  We're going to be moving to Starkey Academy for more space because we've outgrown this space," Faulk said.

A decision on what to do with the school will not be made at Monday night's meeting.  Faulk says they plan to have several meetings, to make sure the public stays informed.  They'll do cost studies on ideas that are presented before determining what the future of the building will be.

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