On an foggy southern Minnesota morning, the townsfolk woke up to terrible rumor circulating the small city. Apparently, someone had tried to burn the local high school down over night. The attempt had failed to produce all but a darkened gymnasium
ceiling, yet the blue collar
population was shocked. How could someone do that? Who was the arsonist?
The local newspaper sprung into action the next day with coverage rivaling the last county fair
. The article probed what had happened, questioned how it could have happened, and included many quotes from local officials. The police chief
promised to find the offender, the principal
described how the incident wouldn't have much of an affect on classes, and the fire marshal
detailed the facts that had been gathered. Among the fire marshal
's quotes was the following juicy tidbit
It's a good thing they didn't start the fire in the library and instead set it in the gymnasium. The fire only caused minor damage in the gym, but could have really spread quickly and caused a lot of damage had it been started in the library with all of the books.
Late that night a local high school student sat up in bed. Moving quickly but quietly the kid threw some dark, warm clothing on to protect him from the frigid
outdoor air and snuck out his window as he had done two nights earlier. He was really pissed about an upcoming test and knew this time he wouldn't fail at his mission to burn his school down. How could he fail?
He had specific instructions from the fire marshal on how to make sure the school would burn properly this time
The kid did turn out to be successful the second time by setting fire to the library. The damage was immense
and it quickly became apparent that the building would have to be demolished
. The entire high school population did get some time off, but the local officials worked quickly to come up with a schedule to split the grade school
building that was still standing. The grade schoolers attended school in the morning and the high schoolers got it in the afternoon until the new high school building's construction was complete.
The police found the offender and quickly obtained a confession. He admitted he used the information contained in the newspaper article to plan the second attempt. The newspaper followed its biggest story of the year relentlessly, keeping it in the headlines and in the citizens' minds. It should therefore not be a surprise that the design of the new school was affected. Due to the fear that the new school would also be subjected to break-ins and arson attempts it was literally built like a prison. There are few windows in the building and none in any classroom. The windows in the stairwells are so small as to prevent anyone from squeezing through them. The stairwells and emergency exits themselves are offset from the building, creating the effect from the inside that the building could easily be locked down and looking from the outside as though there are individual wings with observation and guard towers.
true story that supposedly happened in the 70s though some of the details may be a little off