UPDATE: 10/4/12 @ 5:10 PM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An abandoned school is now buzzing with police patrols -- trying to keep trouble out of the building and the neighborhood.
“It will help a lot since there's been a lot of crime activity here in the past few weeks,” Charleston Police Sergeant Tony Hazelett said.
The old Mount Ovas School on Mary Street was once a safe haven for children. Now, parents don't want their kids anywhere near it.
“It would be nice if they could go outside and I not have to worry about their safety,” Kara Yeager, a neighbor, said.
“Whenever they're picking up bags of drugs and they're like "oh mom, what's this?" what do you say to your kid?” Angela Mitchell, a neighbor, said.
WSAZ.com took their concerns to police and showed them what neighbors are dealing with.
Officers are now patrolling the area several times a day -- getting out of their cruisers to walk around and even inside the building.
The building was taken over by the state in 1986. There’s no word yet on what if anything will be done with the school.
“Probably like a week ago is the last time we came up here and picked up trash,” Angela Mitchell, a neighbor, said.
Trash, boarded up and broken windows and weeds are taking over the old Mount Ovas School along Mary Street. It was once a place for children, but now parents say it's attracting crime.
“It would be nice if they (her children) could go outside and I not have to worry about their safety,” Kara Yeager, a neighbor, said.
“They ride their bikes through here. Whenever they're picking up bags of drugs and they're like, 'Oh mom, what's this?' What are you supposed to say to your kid?” Mitchell said.
Protecting her kids from what's left behind is one thing, but Mitchell says seeing the drug activity first hand is another.
“We've ran several people off -- several people off,” Mitchell said.
Now, police are getting involved.
“Residents around here, they deserve for us to take a look at it. If there's a problem here we're gonna take care of it,” Charleston Police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton said.
Eggleton says the first step is going to the owner.
“For the sake of your neighbors, I think you try to maintain the building,” Eggleton said.
WSAZ.com looked into the building's history and found it had been owned by Midway Baptist Temple until 1986 when it went to the state. Sixteen years later, neighbors say it's time for change.
“That would be a great place to do some kind of daycare,” Mitchell said.
“I'd like to see them either sell it and fix it up and do something productive with it, or just do away with it entirely,” Yeager said.
The reality, though, is it can't happen overnight.
“You're talking a three or four-story building here made of brick. It's gonna take some time to do something with this,” Eggleton said.
The school has been there since 1930. It's unclear, though, how long it has been vacant.