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alma school

Alma School

City/Town:
Location Class:
Built: 1924 | Abandoned: ~1970s
Status: AbandonedBurned Down
Photojournalist: Jeff HodgeBelva Shelton

Alma High School was a WPA project that started around January 1940 and one that the whole town was proud of. It was built to replace the former Alma School that was fifteen years old. The structure was massive for the tiny town and the building was praised by locals. Located on a five-acre tract of land the ten-room structure cost around $50,000 after its completion. With 22 1/2 accredited classes to offer, a classroom for home economics, and a science laboratory. The modern native stone structure was equipped with more than enough for the 150 students that would walk its halls for the next four years. Other features included tiled ceilings, cement/wooden floors and plaster walls.

By the closing of the 1935 school year, the school board felt that repairs and improvements were made to the former building. The work done by the WPA and costing roughly $9,000 is how the building of a waist-high, native rock perimeter wall around the schoolyard came to be. This wall still exists today and adds an element I personally don’t recall seeing in most WPA schools.

The community didn’t just use the facility for educational purposes but also as a sort of community center. Dances, holiday celebrations, plays and more helped bond the community together. So when the news came that the community would have to close their school, it was devastating. Just a decade prior they had shuttered closure by creating a subscription to keep the school open. The school closed around 1946 after a vote came to consolidate the Velma and Alma communities into one school located at Velma.

alma school
The Duncan Banner Oct 7, 1962

The acreage including this former Alma High School building and the Alma Grade School that sits next door was put up for auction in 1952. Otto Colvin purchased the land and buildings for just $4,650. He converted the grade school building into a private residence for him and his family and turned the former high school building into an office space to run his business in. And so a new life began for the building as the Alma Telephone Co., it existed as this until approximately the late 1970s.




Bibliography

Click to access wpaphase3pt2.pdf

https://www.newspapers.com/image/789378647/?terms=alma%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/790035848/?terms=alma%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/790038108/?terms=alma%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/787015679/?terms=alma%20high%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/787017889/?terms=alma%20high%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/787017996/?terms=alma%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/787104069/?terms=alma%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666425032/?terms=alma%20telephone&match=1

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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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Donna Kaye (Carroll) Johnson
Donna Kaye (Carroll) Johnson
1 month ago

I went to school in that building and even remember when it became the office for the telephone company. I started in the first grade there in the Alma Grade School building in 1947 and I seem to remember there still being high school students in the high school building at that time. Velma and Alma continued to have separate grade schools even after the new high school was built. When I was in the fifth grade, all of the elementary students still at Alma were moved into the empty high school building and it was the next year that… Read more »

Joe Thompson
Joe Thompson
1 month ago

Alma Hurricanes joined the Velma Vikings to form the VA Comets.

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