Lawton_Lawton's old Central Junior High is transforming into our new city hall. But developers say as they renovate the 100-year old building, they're discovering decades of secrets the school has been hiding. And for the first time Thursday, we took cameras behind the scenes of the renovation and show you Central Junior High under construction, and the secrets she's been hiding.
You always hear the phrase "If these walls could talk, the secrets they'd tell." That's sure happening at the Old Lawton Central Junior High. As demolition crews transition the building into its new life as Lawton's city hall, the walls are spilling their secrets. "Lots of things from hidden lights that were covered up 40, 50 years ago that are original from 1910," said the project's architect, Gary Armbruster, "to floor elevation changes, from one room to another went up six, seven inches. So just lots of good surprises and bad surprises that you find in construction."
From the outside the building looks like it has only four floors. But as demolition crews soon discovered, the building actually has 12 different levels!
Students weren't allowed on that highest level, but crews still found signatures and notes up there from students across the decades. And speaking of that mysterious upper level, ever wonder what that golden dome looks like from the inside? Well it's a 100-year-old wooden structure.
Minnette Page was once a student here and then returned as a teacher. She's also one of the women responsible for getting this building on the National Historic Register. "I am so excited about what's going to happen," Page said, "and I think this will just make the center of Lawton."
Armbruster says they are keeping as much of the original school as possible: like leaving the hallways lined with lockers, and refurbishing old light fixtures. But the classrooms will turn into 21st century city offices. "It's wonderful to preserve our history and yet make it functional for today," Page said.