BTW Magnet Students and Community React to Early Morning Fire
Fire destroyed a part of Montgomery’s Booker T. Washington Magnet High School early Saturday morning.
For many, the aftermath of the fire seems unreal, leaving students distraught over what they have worked so hard for. BTW students like Senior Class President Laci Lavoy says watching the fire at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School’s building “C” was surreal.
“It’s like three to four years of memories in there-careers are built in there. This school is way more than people make it out to be and now it’s just gone,” says Lavoy.
Lavoy worries everything she and her classmates have worked for is gone.
“Work from my freshman year and sophomore year from like film cameras was in there and even one that’s going to be on the cover of a book is in there,” says Lavoy.
Montgomery Public Schools officials say the fire started around 3 am and destroyed much of the school library, cafeteria, counselor offices, and a photo studio.
“Actually millions of dollars of in macbooks, dark room material, everything.
MPS officials have canceled classes for next week. Spokesman Tom Salter says classes will resume at Hayneville Road School.
“There are a lot of specialized training programs at BTW and we’ll have to do our best to make accommodations for those programs like dance and theatre and those things that require specialized spaces,” says Tom Salter, MPS Senior Communications Officer.
We do not know what caused the fire. The school dates to 1865 as a school for black students. It became a high school in the late 1950’s and officially a magnet school in 1996.
“It’s a lot of history. Booker T Washington has been in Montgomery for quite a few years and you just hate to see it go up in smoke,” says Dee Moody of Montgomery.
“It’s nothing left. All they can basically do is just push this school down, just knock it down because that’s no good because that’s the main part of the building,” says Jennifer Wyatt of Montgomery.
Despite the circumstances, they say they are supporting students, faculty, and staff as they rebuild on what they have left, which are memories.
“There will be better days than this one is. I know that’s a lot of memories and just appreciate those good memories that they had for the school,” says Moody.
“Everything that meant something in there, we’re just going to be stronger for it. We’re not going to let it get us down,” says Lavoy.
School officials say they are thankful the fire department’s fast action managed to save much of the cafeteria cooking equipment. It will be moved to the new school’s temporary location. In fact MPS staff have already started moving into the closed down Hayneville Road School.
The school system has set up a website to provide information to parents and students. To learn more click here.
Donations are being accepted by the BTW Fame Board, an organization that supports the magnet high school. You can click here if you are interested in donating. Many area businesses and others are offering help too.