BAKER, La. (BRPROUD) — After six years without their own school, the building process for Baker High is finally underway.
On Tuesday, the city of Baker said farewell to the historic Baker High School building. The school was founded in 1900 and parts of the building have been there since 1934.
In 2016, flood water devastated the school. Now in 2022, they are taking their first steps to recovery.
“It was devastating. It was heartbreaking for all of us here,” stated Baker High School Principal Candance Russell.
In August of 2016, what was supposed to be a normal school day, instead turned into a nightmare.
“The water got higher and higher. After they had called school off, I just kept on watching out because I don’t live but a few blocks away. And I would ride up and just see how it was, how far it was coming, and it was scary and it was sad,” said former Baker High teacher Jackie Mullins.
Many Baker students and faculty like Principal Candance Russell came back to the remnants of a school.
“We had to actually move, go in and try to confiscate or salvage some of the things that we had here,” she explained.
Since then, the high school moved into the middle school, and the middle school transitioned to a different building.
“We had to continue to move on because we were in the process of educating kids. You know, despite the flood, we had to rise to the challenge,” said Russell.
But now the mighty Buffaloes are turning the page to a new chapter. Shovels are finally hitting the ground to their new future. Mullins has looked forward to this for a long time now.
We had our doubts, you know, because I’ve seen other schools that were in the same flood have been rebuilt and we have just been waiting,” he said.
The demolition process began, washing away the old and welcoming in the new.
“Today marks the rebuilding of our Baker High School. It also marks the revival of a legacy here. Baker High School has been a staple in this community for over 100 years,” said Russell.
The buildings will be state-of-the-art, promising for growth.
“We want to move forward with a new vision and with a hope of a great beginning here at Baker High School and a new facility,” added Baker Public Schools Supt. Dr. De`Ette Perry.
Leaders are hoping to complete this project at the end of 2023 or at the beginning of 2024.