Warner Robins movement is growing to save Rumble Academy

November 28, 2012 

Last year when voters went to the polls, they approved a special education sales tax that will, among other things, replace technology and build a new stadium to be used by Veterans and Houston County high schools.

Some of the items to be funded by the education special purpose local option sales tax won’t be accomplished for years, but one of the first things that happened was a shuffle of students as the board started on a new school building at the site of C.B. Watson.

Warner Robins High School ninth-grade students were moved out of Rumble Academy and into the main campus while the Houston County Crossroads alternative school students who were housed at C.B. Watson were moved into Rumble. C.B. Watson was torn down during the summer, and a new school is being built in its place.

Next summer, the Crossroads students will be moved into the current Pearl Stephens Elementary School building, whose students will move into the new elementary school at the C.B. Watson site.

At that point, with Rumble empty, the plan is to tear down the building, with the exception of the gym, and build tennis courts.

That’s the plan. But a newly organized group would like to amend the last part and keep Rumble from being torn down.

A combination of people -- some Warner Robins High School alumni and friends, some concerned about the history of Warner Robins and some concerned about what is emerging as the downtown area of Warner Robins -- had a preliminary meeting last week.

The building most commonly known as Rumble was actually built as Warner Robins High School. According to the Warner Robins Silver Anniversary Magazine, it was in fall 1944 when construction was approved for the high school, originally a 12-classroom structure. In the book’s highlights from 1946, it states that 28 seniors made up the first graduating class at Warner Robins High School on May 22, 1946.

Residents who have started the Save Rumble effort are concerned about the lack of history in Warner Robins and are determined to do something about it.

“There are only a handful of structures in town that were here 50-60 years ago. That’s our legacy and our heritage, and I’m glad to be involved in the effort to save it from demolition,” said Jim Elliott, a Warner Robins High graduate and one of the organizers of the Save Rumble effort.

The effort is not without precedent. Years ago, a board of education member suggested tearing down the Perry School building, which at the time was used mostly as a book storage building for the board of education.

Billy L. Powell, who dedicated a chapter called “Saving the Old Perry School” to the events in his book, “Pride of the Panthers,” said then-Perry Mayor Jim Worrall is credited with saving that building. Worrall spearheaded an aggressive public campaign to save the Perry School building, which now serves as the board of education office.

The organizers of the Save Rumble effort think a similar public outcry can be generated, and the building can be saved.

“We already have great enthusiasm, and I’m confident that we will make a compelling case for the board to take a different path,” said Elliott.

A Save Rumble rally has been planned for Jan. 24. The public is encouraged to attend. Watch The Telegraph for details about the location of the event.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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