Hugo High School demolition begins

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HUGO, Okla. (KXII) -- It's a bittersweet day in the town of Hugo, Oklahoma, as what the school board voted into motion three years ago has finally come to fruition.

It's day one of the old Hugo High School demolition and what went up in 1920 must come down.

"There's so many memories in this school that it's just crazy to watch it go down like this," said Keshawn Pleasants, a Hugo High School alumnus.

"A lot of people went to school there, you know. A lot of memories, just really sad," said Regena Shepherd, a Hugo High School alumna.

What transpired outside the orange barrier Thursday was more like a wake than a demolition; people came from all over to say goodbye.

"You can see that excavator there starting on this side. They'll just start down down this thing and they'll just wipe it out," said Wade Browder, a contractor on the project.

Parts of the 98-year-old building crumbled to the ground with just a nudge but these folks say the memories are still standing strong.

"Looking at the halls we used to walk through to get to class and looking at all the classrooms that we used to look down at, it's just crazy," said Pleasants.

Superintendent Dr. Earl Dalke says an inspection ruled the old Hugo High unsafe.

He says the safety of the students is what matters most and voters agreed when they passed a $1.4 million bond in 2013 to help pay for the new high school, built just up the street.

"Everything dies. Nothing's built to last forever and this building was ready to come down. Mold all in the basement, it would take millions of dollars to try to get this restored," said Brian Anderson, a worker on the demolition who also happens to be a Hugo alumnus.

But the district has plans in place to remember the old High school and the tradition and memories it held.

"We're going to have bricks that we've taken from the old building and we'll engrave people's names and we'll engrave Hugo High School, 1920 - 2018," said Dr. Dalke.

Neighbors we spoke with say they are sad and they will miss this monument to Hugo's history but they understand that it had to come down because of safety.