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Mayor says Rule High School is 'beyond repair'

The Knox County Mayor wants to find money in the 2020 budget to tear down the abandoned school.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Through the decades, thousands of students walked the halls. But in the 28 years since the doors were locked, time has gotten the better of Rule High School. 

"It looks like it's been hit by a bomb and then been through several hurricanes," said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. 

Knox County Schools transferred Rule to the county a couple years back. In its glory days, the mascot here was the Golden Bear. Now it's a "white elephant." 

"We're probably looking at a million dollars just to knock it down and I don't know what else we can do with that particular property at this point," Jacobs said. 

RELATED: Abandoned Places: Rule High School

But he said it didn't have to be this way, if Knox County Schools had only kept up with maintenance, maybe Rule wouldn't be this bad. 

"If it had been kept up, just minimal upkeep, we would have a pretty valuable piece of property," Jacobs said, calling what happened to Rule a "waste of taxpayer dollars." 

Trying to renovate is out of the question, he said. 

"It's not worth trying to even have that conversation, it would be millions and millions of dollars just to get started on it," Jacobs said, adding he's hoping to get money in next year's budget to tear down the school. After that, he'd like to get it back on the tax rolls.

In an emailed statement the school district spokesperson said, "Our practice has been to utilize funding for the upkeep of facilities that we actually occupy. Rule has not been used as a school for almost 30 years."