Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences helps revive old Sequoyah Elementary, north Tulsa neighborhood

Little more than a week after a devastating fire at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, the investigation is complete and the TSAS community is pushing forward.

Ruled accidental and attributed to construction, a fire swept through the former Barnard Elementary School at 17th and Lewis Sept. 5, destroying the building and most everything inside.

Initially, things looked grim for the students and staff, but within hours a new home became available and preparations were under way at Tulsa Public Schools' vacant Sequoyah Elementary School near Admiral and North Harvard.

A day later, classes resumed and the TSAS community began picking up the pieces, settling in at the new location.

But students and teachers weren't the only ones happy to have the old TPS building occupied again.

Naomi Lundy moved into the neighborhood in 1961.  She and her husband settled there so her two youngest children could walk to school, just a block away at Sequoyah Elementary.

"Schools are always the center of activity," said Lundy.  "It was a great school.  It really was, and still is."

Lundy used to mentor young students at Sequoyah and she's glad to see kids back in the neighborhood.

"In fact, I've said before, I don't know what in the world they would use it for other than a school," said Lundy.  "It is in good shape.  It really is."

Butch Kirby knows what it's like to bring back a piece of the past.  He's restoring an old '51 Ford.

Kirby says he's happy to see the neighborhood buzzing once again with activity.

"Tickled the heck out of me," he said.  "I was glad to see it come back.  With it sitting empty over there, you never knew what's going on over there.  I hope they keep it."

Kirby said reopening the school helps keep the neighborhood alive.

"I was just afraid the school was going to run the neighborhood down not being there," said Kirby.

Sixteen-year-old Ian Spencer also knows how important a school is.  He just finished classes at the local vo-tech.

"I think that it is good to have a young community in the neighborhood," he said.  "To bring some life to it.  I didn't like that it was just an empty building."

A devastating fire in one neighborhood helps bring new life to another.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments