As development plans finalize for old Blacksburg Middle School property, former student remembers piece of forgotten history

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) At the corner of South Main Street and Eheart Street is a big plot of empty land. It's where the old Blacksburg Middle School once stood, and a big Oak tree that stands near the road was part of the landscaping out front.

It had special meaning to students who helped plant it in 1976. But as people moved away and grew older, the significance of that tree and the time capsule buried underneath nearly became a piece of forgotten history. Until now.

"That would upset me to know the history would be lost. Because once it's gone it will be gone forever," said David McMahan. He was in 8th grade when the school celebrated the nation's bicentennial by creating a time capsule and planting a tree.

"We planted it with the hopes and dreams that it would still be around in our tricentennial 2076," McMahan said.

In an email, developers say it all will soon play a different part in a big construction project for the property.

Initial plans show a parking garage, possibly a new police department, and a hotel on the front section of the property. A park and a residential neighborhood could fill the rest of the land. Right now the plans are proposed. A finalized layout is in the works now.

Developers explain they plan to relocate the time capsule to a place that honors the history of the school.

The tree, they say, won't be able to be saved or moved. They're considering using wood from the tree to build benches for the proposed public areas with plaques explaining its history.