Neighbors question future of Forest Hills School


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PADUCAH, Ky. - Some parents worry about an abandoned school in their community.  Thousand of children walked through the doors, now parents say they're trying to keep their kids away from a building abandoned by a local school board.

The Forest Hills Elementary School was built in 1956.  In 1980, Paducah Independent Schools turned it into a special needs services building.  In the 1990's, it became the choices alternative school.  Choices relocated in the early 2000's and the building was abandoned.

The school board came close to taking action on the building back in 2008.  They considered demolishing it and placing the new Paducah Middle School on the property.  That didn't happen. Board members haven't yet agreed on what to do with the building.

Regardless, the damage on the outside is clear.  Local 6 also got a look inside the building and spoke to a neighbor who says the building has got to go.

Years of neglect have taken a toll on the Forest Hills School.

There are no longer crayon-drawn pictures posted in the hallway.  Instead you'll find a different kid of artwork, graffiti.

Property not destroyed by vandals has been touched by time.

To stop the break-ins, Troy Brock with Paducah Independent Schools says the board upgraded the security system.

Plus, they get lots of help from police.  In fact, an officer had his eye on the building when Local arrived for the story.

"Paducah Police have been very good about the patrol this area," Brock said.

Neighbor Ebone Henderson said that doesn't stop suspicious activity.

"You can see cars back there all the time, so no I don't ever go back there," Henderson said.

She said she and other parents want the building torn down.

Brock says the decision has been left up to the board.

"Anything is a possibility. I could certainly see where it could be reused.  I also see the possibility of it being raised to the ground and the property being held or even sold," Brock said.

Until then, the building stays as is.  And inside, history stands still.

Brock said the building costs about $200 a month.

That includes the cost of mowing the lawn, and keeping the lights and gas on.

Brock said if the board decides to demolish the building, they'll let former students take a walk through the halls one last time to say a final farewell.