|City/Town: • Bates|
|Location Class: • School|
|Built: • 1915 | Abandoned: • 1965|
|Status: • Abandoned • Restored|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • James Kirkendall|
In 1915 the small town of Bates, Arkansas started construction on a new elementary school. The finished design was a two-story red-brick building with a stone framed foundation. Windows were rectangular with arched tops and the façade had a beautiful top above the tin roof. Inside the floors were wooden panels accented with floor and ceiling boards. The ceiling was a nice addition to the interior architecture and still remains there today. Finally after 3 years of building the school opened to the townspeople. The bottom floor was a grade school, while the upper level was elementary. After several generations of students passed through the old building, the school board decided to consolidate with Waldron. This ended up leaving the school empty. The school soon reopened as a headstart program and closed once again in 1965.
Bates left it sitting empty for decades, and finally in 2004, Ralph Cagle (A graduate from the old schoolhouse), had the idea to renovate Bates School into a community center. He and his supporters spent countless hours refurbishing the interior (adding doors, replacing windows and ceiling tiles, etc.) and exterior. Today, Cagle has stepped down as President and another Bates resident (Scott Thompson) has taken his place. The upper floor remains abandoned as the Community Center tries to find funding for it. Many of the desks from the 30’s still sit covered in dust upstairs and still have writings carved by students from long ago.
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