Abandoned McDonald Elementary School

Abandoned McDonald Elementary School

A tour of the abandoned elementary school in McDonald, Tn

Jennifer arranged for us to tour the old school building in McDonald. This is the school where she received some of her early education. It was abandoned years ago when the boiler failed and is scheduled for demolition.

Many memories haut the hallways. The school was abandoned abruptly in mid year and students were displaced to Black Fox and Prospect elementary schools. The school has most recently been used as a community center, but with no electricity and no running water, there has not been much use made of the building.

The roof has not been maintained and with no heat, the structure has begun to severely decay. The once beautiful hardwood floors in the hallway have buckled and the doors are falling off their hinges. Paint is peeling and the ceilings are falling in. Most of the windows are broken.

Many odd reviewers of the bright days of elementary school remain however. The paintings of Charlie Brown and Lucy marking the boys and girls restrooms are still colorful. The fact that the restrooms are in the basement with and can only be accessed by stairs may be clues to why the building was abandoned.

The old cafeteria, also located in the basement, was littered with an odd collection of tables, chairs yard sale remnants and weird cans of processed food. There was a very nice industrial refrigerator there in the midst of the junk however.

Many of the paintings on the walls of the classrooms survive. There is a train representing the moths of the year in one room and a row of apples lining another room. In one pile of books, Jennifer actually found one of her old school books. It had her name still listed in the front of the book when it was assigned to her.

One room has a unique feature. It has an elevated section with a tree mural painted on it. It was called the tree house. The fifth graders could climb a ladder and sit there and read.

The auditorium seemed the best preserved room. The stage was still in good shape and less debris cluttered the room.

At some point someone, I hear it was the Ruratain club, spent a lot of money to add electrical wiring to the building. Apparently the project was never finished as there are big empty breaker boxes hanging on many of the walls. The electricians made no effort what so ever to make the installation look nice however. There is ugly PVC conduit exposed on the walls and the holes where the came through the walls are ragged and unfinished. In some ways it looks like they had to have worked extra hard to make the conduit runs so ugly.

In the basement there is a huge Ronan switching panel connected to the large emergency generator outside. It looks like they were well prepared for an extended outage.

Outside, the playground is nothing more than an asphalt pad. There is a set of monkey bars in the woods surrounded by briars.

The gym is a huge metal building obviously built much later. It appears to be in good shape. However there is an odd drainage problem apparent wilt the building. The grade slopes toward the front where there is a huge sidewalk. There is no provision made for the water to drain under the sidewalk so it just dams up there in a heavy rain. There is evidence that the water collects several inches deep at the corner of the building. The side panels are rusted and there are stories of water entering the building. I can’t imagine what the builders were thinking.