100-year-old chalkboard uncovered during school's construction

100-Year-Old Chalkboard Uncovered During School's Construction Saved

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) -- A piece of our history is etched in chalk. It's a reminder that we were all school children once.

"Everybody at some point has gotten chalk dust on their hands, and can immediately identify very personally with those chalkboards," Jeff Briley, with the Oklahoma History Center, said.

When this 100-year-old blackboard was first uncovered during construction work at Emerson High School, officials looked to historians for advice on how to preserve it.

Jeff Briley jumped at the chance to help.

"The idea that school children in that building this year could essentially look at something in their room that would give them a direct physical connection with a classroom scene from a hundred years ago, it's magnificent," Briley said.

He says the answer is to build a $26,000 wall from floor to ceiling to protect the drawings during the remainder of construction.

"Even the vibration of a drill could actually damage the chalkboard, so it's very important that we cover the entire wall from top to bottom," Tierney Tinnin with Oklahoma City Public Schools said.

Historians say the school board is expected to put up that money.

"We are in agreement that we want to preserve them, so that we can continue to have that connection to the history of the school," Tinnin said.

The Oklahoma City school board voted Monday night to approve placing a temporary wall to cover the chalkboards until a permanent solution is decided.

"We need to continue the construction in the classroom and prepare for students," Tinnin said in a statement.

The next question, in regards to a permanent solution, will be whether to cover the chalkboards with Plexiglas and leave them in the original classroom, or move them somewhere else.

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