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Students & teachers bid bittersweet farewell to Perry Co. school building

By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
Many students and teachers in Perry County celebrated Tuesday because school dismissed for the summer. But for some of them it was a bittersweet day, as the doors of Dennis C. Wooton Elementary School closed for good.

BITTERSWEET GOODBYE: The doors at Dennis Wooton Elementary in Hazard closed for good Tuesday.

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Many students and teachers in Perry County celebrated Tuesday because school dismissed for the summer. But for some of them it was a bittersweet day, as the doors of Dennis C. Wooton Elementary School closed for good.

"My mother worked here for several years and my siblings went to school here for awhile," principal Thomas Neace said. "And things like that just bring back memories of the past."

The school was built in 1962.

Mike Smith went to school there and has been teaching there for the past 22 years.

"There was a lot of mixed emotion," Smith said. "As far as any sadness, no, but it's an end of an era here and I've got a lot of memories that dwell in these hallways."

Many of the students, teachers and administrators at Dennis Wooton are moving to the new East Perry Elementary, which is being constructed off Highway 80 near Walmart in Hazard.

The new school will be open this fall and accommodate between 600 and 700 students.

School officials have not decided what to do with the Dennis Wooton building.

"It will be kind of exciting to go to a new building with a new gym and bigger classrooms," student Jaron Centers said.

"I'm probably going to find myself pulling into the parking lot (at Dennis Wooton) some mornings and realizing I'm supposed to be up on the hill," Smith said. "But that's not a bad thing. It just keeps the memories alive."


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