Historic Texarkana school reopens as community development center

Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 4:39 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - Alumni from Booker T. Washington High School sang the alma mater of the closed school, and marked the grand opening of the new Washington Community Development Center.

The facility was constructed nearly 100 years ago as one of the first high schools in the area to serve African American students in the Texarkana Arkansas School District. The last graduating class was in 1969.

Earlier this year, the district sold the property to the nonprofit organization “We Are Washington.”

“So we are trying to spend time giving people tools, not just recreational but also educational to be better prepared for the game of life,” said Donald Reed with the nonprofit.

Leaders say they will also provide space for other nonprofit organization to set up shop.

“We refuse on this side of town, when we integrated in 1969, to let this to let this school grow up in grass,” said Donald Nelson, Booker T. Washington alum.

Nelson spent 18 years at the school as a student and teacher.

“One thing about history that is always true is that things will always change, so we are in the midst of one of those historical changes, but this is a good change,” he said.

The new owners say the name has changed, but the legacy of BTW will continue.

“So really what we are doing is we are just piggy-backing on the great history of this school. This school got an amazing tradition,” Reed said.

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