Some of my fondest memories involved my time at Kitty Stone. When I left the school, grades K-4 were still in the pods, 5th and 6th graders didn’t mind using the “outside” bathrooms, and walking from a pod to the lunchroom was a chance for fresh air. The pods were convenient, too. Whenever there was a special event, such as a guest speaker or awards program, the grade level would gather in the pod together. There was something special about them, a since of community.
I’d estimate the pod ‘downfall’ came when the BOE walled-up part of the special-ed pod for their offices. Eventually, pods lost their grade designation and were assigned colors. One pod was used for storage and the computer lab, justifying another addition to the main building.
But the parents and board of education didn’t understand the love and convenience of Kitty Stone. The thought of requiring students to have fresh air—those precious snow flakes—was substituted with the concern of safety. Never mind the intimidating black wall that imprisoned the campus at this point. It wasn’t enough. The pods must go. The cat walks must go. The bathrooms on outside walls must go. A new school is in order!
So the students started at the new Kitty Stone this fall… in what can only be described as a prison. The building looks like great windows were once planned, but later scrapped and bricked up. That’s the only way I can describe the bizarre architecture of Kitty Stone Penitentiary.
My sister and I would plot to check out on certain days. I’d pack her stuffed comfort animal (a mouse named Squeaky) in my backpack and she’d call our grandfather to check us out. Of course, she couldn’t leave her sister behind. Granddaddy would come up to the school and tease the office ladies about how he’d take us home and put on our favorite movies for us to watch. The ladies knew what we were up to and they’d smile and dismiss us.
Today’s procedures involve walking up to a window, much like you’d find in gas station, and speaking your request into the little hole (consequently, you can slide change and documents to the office ladies just like when you’re buying a pack of cigarettes at any gas station in Anniston). Safety, you know. This little hallway, complete with a bench or two, is dubbed the “visitor center” and the only area visitors are allowed to go on school grounds. The old McClellan morgue has more warmth than the “visitor center”… visitor hallway… visitor transaction location … prison visitation room…
The new Kitty Stone also features a gym/auditorium, a FEMA-rated tornado shelter, and the ability to expand whenever the BOE deems a middle school is necessary. Did I mention a competition gym? The gym is front and center allowing for a “good visual impact.” Because our elementary students need a competition gym. A competition gym. Did I say that already? A flipping competition gym. When my daughter asked me if dodgeball was a professional sport, I guess I should’ve responded yes.