Joyce Carlock remembers when the Alice Robertson Junior High School halls were maroon and gold, emblazoned with Warriors' logos instead of Roughers.
"It's not the same as it was," Carlock said. "It's been years — I left in 1956 — and so much of it has been changed."
Carlock drove down from Tulsa to say an informal goodbye to the buildings where she and many others spent formative years. Alumni wandered up and down the halls, murmuring to each other about what had changed, and what had stayed the same.
Older parts of the school, first constructed in 1939, are scheduled to be demolished next year to make way for a new Ninth Grade Academy. The buildings have been empty since May, with many of the classrooms used for storage. The doors were opened Saturday morning for an informal walkthrough, giving people a chance to reminisce and visit their old school.
Some people stopped to show their children and grandchildren where they had attended junior high school, while others gathered for pictures in front of maroon lockers. Some of the whiteboards still bore last day of the year messages to students, or had chairs still arranged in class circles.
"Some of these are the same classrooms I went to class in," said Sharon Peters, one of the visitors. "I'm sure we had blackboards instead of whiteboards, though."
Milisa Linney, both a graduate and former employee of AR, said she was sad to see the building go.
"It's nice to come back and see where you went to school," Linney said. "My mom went to school here, I went to school here, I came back and worked here."
Still, Linney said, it was probably time for the buildings to come down.
"It's sad, but it's necessary," she said. "I think it's necessary."
Judy Genzer, who came with two friends to walk the halls and inspect their old grounds, disagreed with that sentiment, she said.
"It's wonderful," Genzer said. "I think it's still in pretty good shape — I think it could be refurbished."
Genzer's friend Nancy Edwards said the decision to tear down the "historic" building was too hasty.
"I think we're way too quick to tear things down that have historical value," Edwards said.
The last of the three friends, Faye Curry, lamented the potential damage to the grounds construction might cause.
"It was beautiful driving up to the school," Curry said. "It takes a life time to grow trees like that. This place had such an impact on my life. I hate to see it go."
A more formal farewell event is scheduled for next spring, said Muskogee Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Eric Wells in a prior Phoenix story. The demolition will begin in summer of next year, per the same story.