LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - An elementary school will close its doors forever this summer as it becomes the new Sugar Creek Elementary.
Before the closure, they opened their doors to everyone to allow time to say goodbye.
The staff, students, and alumni of Owens Elementary agree: they are family. Generations of students walked the halls for an open house before the school closes for good.
"We're having a really difficult time some days, letting go of this," said Patti Reeves, who has been teaching at OES for 19 years.
There were years of yearbooks available for people to sift through as they visited old teachers and classrooms. A time capsule from 1983 was removed from a wall for the occasion.
Principal Cleo Miller opened the capsule in the school's gym, and inside were pictures of the original building, a newspaper, a list of all of the students enrolled in the 1982-1983 school year, and a Limestone County Schools directory.
But the real treasures were alumni from the school's very start.
"I started Owens in the fifth grade when i was ten years old," said alum Tommie Smith, whose daughter now teaches at the school. Smith started at OES in 1948. "That was the year after Owens was built. I was sad when I heard it was closing."
It's easy to understand why an evening like this is bittersweet. The new school is state of the art, but once they close the doors, the name 'Owens' will be gone.
"We won't be directly in this community anymore, we'll be out towards west Limestone," said Reeves. "So I think those things bother them, you want to see your elementary school the way you remember it, and that's what people are doing tonight."
The Owens staff will take up residence at Sugar Creek Elementary on Salem Minor Hill Road this August.