Alternative use for old BHS building


It’s not easy to dispose of older buildings but those built and first occupied in 1974 are not old. If 60 years is considered ancient and inhabitable [sic] so are a majority of structures in most communities—including Montgomery County. The former Blacksburg High School located on Patrick Henry Drive is the latest example.

The collapse of the gym roof several years ago was a beautiful excuse to vacate the entire building even though several engineering studies determined that the building was structurally sound and not a danger to occupants. However, a new sixty million dollar high school took center stage.

This writer advocated a vocational center for the old Blacksburg Middle School which once was the Blacksburg High School) until 1974. It fell on deaf ears to those in political power. So it was demolished a few years ago and awaits a new occupier.

We now have an opportunity to renew the concept of a vocational center for Montgomery County students and adults. The old Blacksburg High School is well-suited to vocational/technical education as half the building was designed and devoted to vocational programs. There is a dime need for an educational facility that would expand career education to serve all of Montgomery County. Each high school (and middle school) cannot offer the vocational/technical programs of a county-wide center.

Vocational education is finally getting the attention it deserves throughout the area and the country. Let’s make it a top priority in Montgomery County. We have the facility so let’s not blow the chance to use it as a vocational/technical (and recreation center).

— Arne Saari