Abandoned school buildings become an eyesore in some communities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "Bring it down, it can't be fixed, stone by stone, brick by brick," was the chant of some senior citizens Tuesday morning in Orange Mound.

The heat couldn't stop about 50 seniors on a mission to get the old Melrose High School behind the Orange Mound Community Center torn down.

"I've seen rodents come out of there as big as cats. No telling what kind of diseases in there. It just needs to come down," said Robert Hawkins, who lives in Orange Mound.

The school has been abandoned since the 70s.

The City of Memphis now owns the property and said it's willing to do whatever the citizens want with the building.

So far, nothing has been done, and the eyesore still stands.

"It's very scary for seniors to walk over there when you are trying to park," said Toni Williams, a Melrose High Alum.

It's another example of an abandoned school building that has now become a community eyesore.

It happens as the school system continues to shut down schools as school enrollment shrinks.

Georgia Avenue has been closed for years.

Add it to the list of shuttered buildings on the Shelby County Schools rolls.

While some buildings are rented out, others stand for years boarded up or fenced in.

Just this year, the school system closed more schools including Northside High. Now part of it is used for the School Nutrition Center.

The school system says it tries to re-purpose buildings when possible.

Those who are forced to look at the eyesores that often remain want answers.

"Tear it down, move it out," said Julia Black, who is 91 years old and has lived in Orange Mound 40 years.

Buildings that once brought communities together now, in some cases, threatening to bring the community down.
Shelby County Schools deeded over ownership of the old Melrose High to the City of Memphis last year.