Wilson School Looking to Future After Fire

The school is preparing to reopen to students in January 2013 following a fire in March.

A three-alarm fire couldn't destroy the nearly 100-year old Wilson School in Clayton. The school simply found a place for its students to finish the 2011-12 school year and started planning to get back home.

The blaze in late March damaged about a third of the building. The fire happened in the attic, which adjoins with several sides of the school building. Fox 2 News shared this video of the Wilson fire on its website.

Head of School Thad Falkner said while the work has been more than originally anticipated, the school is still on schedule to reopen to students in January.

"We thought it would be about 18 dumpster loads of debris we would have to haul away," Falkner told Patch. "It ended up being 60 loads."

Prior to the fire, the school had planned multiple renovations at the site, including an expansion of the foreign-language room, a computer classroom and a media room. 

The need to rebuild after the fire pushed up renovations so that the rebuilding and remodeling could happen simultaneously.

The school's library, near the front entrance, was heavily damaged in the the fire. The renovations include new trusses, an additional classroom within the library and expanded areas for books.

Falkner said the renovations maintain the historic sensibility of the Wilson School and honor its architecture, while making 21st century updates to the wiring, fire alarms and structure.

The Wilson School maintains a small class size for its students, with one class per grade level.

"We have between 19-24 students per class," he said. The Wilson School uses a team teaching approach, so there are two teachers per classroom.

The expansion and renovations are expected to be completed by the end of December so that students can return to the building in January after winter break.

This semester classes are being held at the Maryland School. Falkner praised the School District of Clayton for its aid over the past few months so that the students' education could continue without major disruption.

See our previous coverage of The Wilson School:

  • Wilson School Plans Renovations in Clayton's DeMun Neighborhood
  • Maryland School to Host Wilson Students Displaced by Fire
  • The Wilson School Holds 100th Birthday Party in Clayton


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