MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The Bessie Allen Preparatory School Missions International has served students in Madison County for at least 60 years. Now, the small Christian school is struggling to keep its doors open.
Administrators said recent storms have turned what once were small repairs into ones that will cost more than the school can afford.
The Bessie Allen school is "an icon"
You can't miss the red schoolhouse in New Market.
"This school is an icon here," said upperclassmen school teacher Tammy Buttler.
Parents pay very little, if anything, to send their child to Bessie Allen.
"Many students come here to learn, not only about God but also how to live for this life and the life after," said Buttler.
"The children love to come to school," said pre-K school teacher Raquel Mallett. "We want to be able to keep it open as long as we can."
The school needs major repair work
But recent severe weather and heavy rains took its toll on an already old building. There's damage to the walls, the foundation, and the roof.
"The water is not coming down [the roof]," said Mallett. "It's just settling in so it's causing the roof to cave in."
The school doesn't have an average school cafeteria, it's a basic kitchen. The students utilize that room for their cooking class, but they can't use it because of all the damage. Whenever it rains, the water would drip across the ceiling.
Can you help them get the school fixed?
All the teachers at Bessie Allen are volunteers. So administrators said every penny that comes into the school goes to the students. Right now, that's not much.
"My biggest fear is that we won't be able to provide that type of education that we're striving to," said Buttler. "I know with the Lord's help this all can be done."
The repairs would take thousands of dollars to fix, so teachers are making do with the space they can use.
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All 16 students, preschool through the 12th grade, are learning side by side, hoping to stay in their little red schoolhouse.
Administrators said they need to raise $55,000 to repair their entire building. They've set up a GoFundMe account for donations.