Fire-damaged Bedford Middle School has extensive past

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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) - Bedford Town Manager Bart Warner spoke at a news conference Thursday morning after a huge fire heavily damaged the old Bedford Middle School, saying the Bedford community is a strong one, and will get through this hard day.

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The school closed after the 2017-2018 school year, and was set to be redeveloped. The new middle school, Liberty, borrowed architecture from the old one.

The main school building has been around more than 90 years, serving as an elementary, middle and high school at different times throughout the decades. The building first served as Bedford High School from 1928 until 1964, when Liberty High School opened. Then, it became Bedford Elementary School until 1989, when a new elementary building was opened on Burks Hill Road. From 1989 until its closure in 2018, it was home to Bedford Middle School students. In 2018, Liberty Middle School opened on Route 122, adjacent to the high school.

In 2019 the town of Bedford received a $220,000 grant to redevelop the property, specifically a vacant three-story building known as "Old Yellow," which was built in 1912.

Bedford community members hoped to maintain the historical significance of the school - from which many of the Bedford Boys once graduated - and in 2018, multiple development groups proposed ideas for the site.

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