Central school is closing - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Central school is closing

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By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

CENTRAL COMMUNITY (KAIT) --Out with the old-- in with the new.

The opening of Trumann's new high school means Central Elementary will be closing its doors.

But where will those kids go? And what will happen to their old school?

A school has been in the central community location for years.

C.A. Jones was on the school board from 1962 till 1985 when Trumann took over the school.

"The school as a whole was a K thru 12 from some time in the 40's. "

The original school burned down, the present facility was built in the 70's becoming part of the Trumann school district in 1985.

Current principal Bobby Benson says at that time the school board made a major decision.

"The school board decided to have all the 5th and 6th grade students from Trumann to come to this building out at the old Central school building."

So what is the plan for the students and faculty?

Benson, "This summer we're gonna move into the old high school building and we will house the 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade students for the Trumann school district there."

All around the school you can see signs of packing, the library is being packed up and in the corner of Beth Montgomery's classroom the boxes are piled high.

Not only does she teach here, she attended school here and her mom teaches here. Her father will be the principal at the new high school

For her, leaving is bittersweet.

Montgomery, "There are so many advantages to moving into town and opening the new high school it's hard to dwell on the sad part."

Yes this school will cease to exist as a school, but the gym will be the core for a very important new facility for the community.

It will become the new Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and much more.

Pastor Milton Cowling says keeping the building alive keeps identity in the community.

"We hope to keep that identity of ministry and helping people and a source of pride to the community by keeping it going."

Cowling says since the kitchen is approved by the health department, they could provide meals perhaps even emergency shelter at times. He says there is a possibility of exercise classes and much more. The first order will be to convert the gym into the sanctuary/multi-purpose room.

Beth Montgomery looks around her classroom and the students working on math problems.

"It's gonna be hard all those memories with all those students here. They won't see this again, they won't come back here to look at their 5th grade class. It won't be their class anymore."

Principal Benson says he thinks they will be out of the school before the end of July.

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