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first_img• The Battle Ground School District handed out hundreds of bricks from the old Central School to former students and staff, and Battle Ground residents on Friday and Saturday. The district plans to hold another brick-giveaway when the standing walls of the school are knocked down in the coming weeks.• Plans for the giveaway will be announced on the district’s website.• The bricks are free, but donations to the Battle Ground Education Foundation will be accepted.BATTLE GROUND — On its final day, the old Central School did exactly what it had on its first: provided a learning experience. Rather than offering first-graders a place to learn the alphabet, the old brick building gave firefighters an opportunity to train for emergencies.The Central School — the educational home for thousands of kids growing up in Battle Ground — was burned to the ground in a firefighting exercise Saturday, nearly 71 years after it first opened its doors to youngsters.As they watched the flames consume the school, residents and former students expressed a mix of sadness and amazement.“There are a lot of memories in that building,” said Dean Paris, who attended the school in the ’80s. “It was basically a second home to a lot of people.” “It’s pretty sad,” he added, “but it’s kind of like it’s being put to sleep.”Hundreds of spectators lined the sidewalk along North Parkway Avenue and peered through the chain-link fence as firefighters worked near what was once the school’s front door. Bright orange flames peeked through the white-framed windows, causing kids to screech with excitement. People armed with cameras and cell phones snapped photos of firefighters tackling the flames. Thick, black smoke billowed from the building, blanketing spectators with the smell of campfire and turning the sky a hazy gray.last_img read more