BHS: It Looks Better Now.

   Blacksburg High School; a couple of years after I graduated, the gymnasium collapsed. Yes. Collapsed.

   All of the students, and especially the teachers, knew this building was on it's way out. It didn't have much going for it in the first place.

   When it was first built in 1972, the location may have seemed like something off a postcard. The builders decided that it didn't matter that half the building was on a sinkhole. And also, BHS made its attempt at being new age-y with an open floor plan. This meant that you could be sitting in Mrs. Johnson's chemistry class, look over your shoulder, and see Mrs. Davis' English class being taught across the library (there were no walls).

   This might have been great when the school began, having the correct number of students it could handle, but as the number of attendants increased, it became impossible to keep it up. This meant that beautiful, vomit colored tin walls were put into place to keep the classrooms separate from each other. If you sat in the back of the class, you could tap in Morse Code on the wall behind you and possibly get an answer from the other side. There were holes everywhere, so if you were bored with Mrs. Smith's math class, you could mentally jump to Mrs. Creedy's biology class going on behind you.

    These walls also wreaked havoc with the air conditioning system. Because the system was originally designed for the open classroom setting, putting the tin walls in screwed it all up. Some classrooms would be as hot as the Sahara, while others felt like the North Pole. As a general rule, though, it was always winter inside the building.

   As you can see from the front of the building, windows were hard to come by. Most students joked that it looked like a prison. The teachers knew it was falling apart and routinely put posters up in places to hide the enormous chasms running through the walls. Half the school was sinking into the ground, and it was showing. The year before I got there, the front stairwell detached from the building. What did they do to fix it? Well, re-attach it of course! The concrete looks different around the bottom, and the glue they used must have been amazing.

   As I look at it now, I don't remember it too fondly. But one thing has changed; I think the gym collapsing has improved the look of the building.



The Derecho Storm is not news to those of us on the east coast. Power outages are still everywhere, including my family's house. The rumble of generators is echoing through the valley. Last night, I had the pleasure of driving a mile down the road with friends in an ATV to fill up buckets of water at a neighbor's well (powered by a generator of course), and haul it back up to the house to help water my family's horses. As we were filling up the buckets, we realized how valuable water really is, and how often we take it for granted when we don't have it.