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A nostalgic walk through the old Kaiserslautern High School, empty after more than 65 years

Kaiserslautern High School principal Barriett Smith takes a photo of Raiders track and field records that hang in the old KHS gym. The sign and the championship banners will hang in the new high school gym. Smith is a KHS alumnus, graduating in 1976.

MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

By MICHAEL ABRAMS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 7, 2018

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — For the first time in more than 65 years, no Raiders will be walking the hallowed hallways of old Kaiserslautern High School.

Because a brand-new high school is opening for the new school year, the old building will remain void of high school students.

The lockers are empty, as are the class rooms. Student art still decorates some of the hallways. Walking through them though, it is easy to think about the refrain from a 1970s Steely Dan song: I’m never going back to my old school.

The school originally opened in a converted apartment in 1952, before moving to a former hospital building and expanding from there a year later.

By the beginning of the ‘80s it was the largest Department of Defense Education Activity school outside of the continental U.S. with about 1,600 students. When the new school opens, they hope to have half of that.

As at any high school tradition and emotions can run deep. When the administration wanted to make minor changes to the Raider, the school’s mascot, complaints from alumni was loud. “People can get very emotional about their school,” said principal Barriett Smith, himself a 1976 graduate of KHS. “They didn’t want any changes being made to the Raider.”

There will, however be future Raiders walking the halls this coming school year. Some of the old high school space will be used for middle and elementary school students who are co-located in the building.

Here's a look at what's there now:

The trophy case

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Encouraging steps

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Student art

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KHS sculpture

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Classrooms

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A message from the past

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The exterior

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KAHS cans

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Lockers

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The old school sign

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The gym

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abrams.mike@stripes.com
Twitter: @stripes_photog

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The trophy cases are empty in a hall of the old Kaiserslautern High School building. A new high school will open at the beginning of the new school year, at the end of August, and the trophies will be on display there.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

There were messages pasted on the stairs for the Kaiserslautern High School students walking up them. After more than 65 years, no high school students will climb these stairs to class again. A new high school is opening at the beginning of the school year and the elementary and middle schools, already co-located here, with expand into the old high school space.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

Artwork done by students of Kaiserslautern High School's class of 2011 adorns a wall above an exit in the old school building. For the first time in more than 65 years, no high school students will walk the hallways of the building. A new school is set to open at the end of August.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

This stone with KAHS for Kaiserslautern American High School has stood in this shaded area popular with students, since at least the 1970s. It will eventually be moved to the new high school opening at the start of the school year.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

An empty classroom at the old Kaiserslautern High School. For the first time in more than 65 years, there won't be any high school students walking its halls or sitting in the classrooms, as the school will be located in a brand new building nearby. Future Raiders will be in class though: students from the elementary and middle schools will be using some of the space.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

This little piece of high school wisdom is one of many still decorating the halls of the old Kaiserslautern High School building. A new school is set to open at the beginning of the school year, leaving the old building's hallways empty of Raiders for the first time in about 65 years.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

The old Kaiserslautern High School. When the school year starts at the end of August, for the first time in more than 65 years, Raiders will not walk its hallways. Some future Raiders will, however; students from the co-located elementary and middle schools will be using some of the space.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

Besides the building, this trash can and what is left of another, might be the oldest thing left at old Kaiserslautern High School. They are stenciled with the school's former name, Kaiserslautern American High School. A new high school is replacing the old one at the start of the new school year.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

A hallway in the old Kaiserslautern High School. For the first time in more than 65 years, high school students won't be walking past the red and blue lockers, as a new school is set to open at the beginning of the school year.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

Kaiserslautern High School principal Barriett Smith stands next to the old school sign with its Raider mascot. When the school wanted to make minor changes to the Raider, the complaints from alumni were loud, Smith said. The Raider remained unchanged. Smith graduated from KHS in 1976.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

The Kaiserslautern Raiders will have a new home when the new high school opens at the beginning of the school year, and the old gym, site of many exciting KHS victories and heartbreaking losses, will hear high school cheers no more.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

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