ATWOOD, Kan. (KSNW) — For band director Sara Schmidt, Rawlins County Junior-Senior High School has been her second home for 12 years. As a fourth-generation graduate of the school, she says the historic building has always been an important part of her life. A second home of sorts, which, because of significant smoke damage, could soon face a tragic end.
“I went and checked it out as soon as I had heard. I thought, surely, nobody would do that,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt says she’s part of the Facilities Committee for the school, a group tasked with looking into much-needed repairs for the 98-year-old building long before the fire took place.
“We have been so truly blessed by the age of how long this building has lasted us, and unfortunately, this is not how we wanted to see it to extinction, so to speak,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt says parts of the basement are destroyed, and the entire main section of the school suffered smoke damage.
“That would have been the third, the basement story, and there’s two stories above that. if you guys look at the picture of the high school and the smoke damage alone, completely went through all stories,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt says the fire will not delay the start of the upcoming school year. However, whether or not school will be held in the impacted building is unclear.
“We have people talking about alternatives and locations, and I mean that’s just, that’s going to be a constant talk that we’re going to have to have, and we’re going to have a board meeting tomorrow night about what do we do, how do we think outside the box,” Schmidt said.
The board meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Rawlins County Elementary School cafeteria. The Rawlins Assistant County Attorney says the two teens arrested on suspicion of arson will be charged as juveniles.