Looking for new home for 'Barracks'
March 28, 2019 | View PDF
A historic building at Thomas Jefferson Middle School may be going home again.
Kelly Richers, superintendent of the Wasco Union Elementary School District, talked about an old building located at the middle school that has been called "The Barracks." He said that for the 16 years he has been with the district, he never knew why it was called that.
"I talked to TJ history teacher David Vaughn, and he advised me the building was an original barracks during World War II that was located at Minter Field in Shafter," Richers said. "On Friday, March 22, the district was going to have it removed from the site in order to put up a shaded area for the TJ students."
Richers has spoken to the Minter Field Air Museum because he thought they might like the historic building back at the air base.
"On Tuesday, March 19, I received a call from Brigadier General [John] Stampflee, who is on the board of directors for Minter Field," Richers continued. "He said he would give me a call back ... and let me know if Minter Field wanted the building back."
Stempfless and retired Major Gen. James Whitehead, Jr., toured the building on Monday, and the head of the Kern County Museum is coming to see it, Richers said. He was to meet with the museum Wednesday.
"They are interested, but we need to research how to move it and what is involved," Richers said.
"It would be great if this piece of American history from the local area could be saved for future generations, to whom World War II is just an abstract idea, not their reality."
Richers believes that the building was moved from Shafter to Wasco in 1950. The building has been used as an art classroom, ceramics classroom and book storage, and now it's just storage.
"We are removing the building completely from TJ and putting in a concrete area with an overhang for students to gather. It will provide some nice shade for the students during the warmer months."