Riley Elementary School

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City/Town: Sand Springs
Location Class: School
Year Built: 1918
Year Abandoned: 1988
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: David Linde

Riley was closed in June 1988, when the building was 70 years old. Most of its students were sent to Mark Twain Elementary School, 541 S. 43rd West Ave., or to Chouteau Elementary School, 575 N. 39th West Ave.

A task force had proposed the closing of Riley and several other schools after Tulsa Public Schools’ enrollment fell from approximately 80,000 students in 1968 to 59,000 in 1978.

At the time of its proposal, the task force was considering a projection that enrollment would fall to 52,000 by 1981. The district now has about 43,000 students.

In 1981, then-Superintendent Larry Zenke said Riley was one of five schools in need of major renovations. Between 1981 and 1988, the district expanded the facility and bought eight acres to expand its 2.5-acre campus.

District officials and patrons had expressed concern about the building’s cramped quarters and condition for years. Tulsa World archives show that in 1976, Frenchie Loving, director of the West O’ Main Improvement Association, said the building, “aside from being too small, is a fire trap, too.”

Danny Wasson, who lives three houses away from Riley, said the boarded-up school has been a common target of vandals and a popular night-time haven for homeless people recently.

“Police have been called there several times to get people out that wasn’t supposed to be there,” he said.

Riley is among properties that are scheduled to be acquired by the state for the extension of the Gilcrease Expressway, said Bill Cyganovich, the city of Tulsa’s lead transportation engineer.

The extension would connect west Tulsa to Interstate 44 and the Keystone Expressway.

Plans call for the route to start at I-44 and West 51st Street, then head north and east of 57th West Avenue, which it would parallel until it crosses the Arkansas River. It then would continue north to the Keystone Expressway, while running east of Terwilliger Park and atop 57th West Avenue.

Officials said the 82-year-old vacant school building was being used for storage.

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Kim Shurtleff (Scism )
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Kim Shurtleff (Scism )

Can’t believe it’s been this long .I remember when I lived on 10th Street next to Tewillager Park walking up the hill every day to go to school .Many good memories wish Riley was still there to visit and reminisce ,Mr. Jackson . Miss Metsker,Mr. Gregg ,Miss Moran, Mr.Clark ,Mr. Yost.

Kim Shurtleff (Scism )
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Kim Shurtleff (Scism )

Riley Elementary

Lisa Morris
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Lisa Morris

I went to Riley in the 70s and to see the school in this condition really made me sad! I do remember Mrs. Metsker, Mrs. Moran, Mr Gregg,! It would be super cool to run into some old friends or one's I was in the same classes!

Robert beck
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Robert beck

hi i wemt to Riley school in the early 70 s im Robert beck

bobby
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bobby

i drove by there just today and it had been removed. i remember when it closed i was going to mark twain at the time they moved the student and i lived just down the street till 91.

David Meadows
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David Meadows

does anyone know where Mr Gregg is now?

Kathy
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Kathy

The school is in Tulsa, not Sand Springs. Some of my best school memories still come from my time at this school in the early 70s.

James Mayes
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James Mayes

Thats exactly right. Its in Tulsa not Sandsprings!! lol. I went there in the 70s. Lived only a about 2 blks away. 1131 S 58th W Ave. Walked up "Riley HIll" many many times. Good memories.

Elizabeth
Guest

This is a very sad outcome for one of Oklahoma's (certainly very old) school buildings. I drove by this building every morning on my way to school up until weeks ago–the last time I drove by must've been three weeks before this Christmas. They've begun to tear the building down; it's heartbreaking to see such an artifact go to waste. If anyone has any old stories about the place, or contact information for alumni/ae, I would be very appreciative. I feel like this is just a little slice of history going to waste and would really like to learn more… Read more »

Patrick Hiscox
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I feel this is among the such a lot important information for me. And i am happy reading your article. But want to observation on few general things, The website style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Just right job, cheers

Danny Clymer
Guest
Danny Clymer

Wow, how sad. That old building has been thru a lot over the years. Hate to that it's going to be destroyed. But it's better than letting it sit and rot away.

whitney
Guest
whitney

My Mom, Uncle, and two aunts went to Riley. They lived down the hill and around the corner from there, in the neighborhood that was taken out. I played there as a little kid. It would be cool to meet someone on this site that knew them. Their last name was Durant. Thanks!

jim barnes
Guest
jim barnes

Wow, this is too cool. Went to Riley from 55-61. Miss Morgan all the way to mr Herring. Some great memories with Jimmy Don Ward, Tommy Thompson, Mickey and Sissy Miller, on and on. This past summer I went ot the funeral of Billy Howard, after all of us were sitting around Linda's house we realize why is it that we see people only at funerals, that is why this past October we had the 1st annual Mayfair addition reunion. So to any of you who were raised on 1st,2nd,or 3rd street are invited to our 2nd annual reunion, time… Read more »

dennis
Guest
dennis

hey jb…………good to see you here………..a nice place………..really enjoyed the mayfair reunion………hope to do it again and many more old freinds will join us there……..thanks for putting it all together………..

dw

Jodie Lasater Varnell
Guest

I forgot to mention. Does anyone remember the Kindergarten teacher's name for the class of 1955-1956?

karla billingsly
Guest
karla billingsly

Mrs. Hobson was the kindergarten teacher then.

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