West Texas State School in Pyote Closing This Summer

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

PYOTE - It's official, the West Texas state school in Pyote is preparing to close its doors.

The jail has housed troubled youth for nearly 45 years, but by June, it's all over.

Now, workers are faced with transferring or trying to stay put.

"We are very sad here in Pyote because we're going to miss our school and we're going to miss our jobs," Clayton said.

West Texas State School workers couldn't talk on camera about the closing, but Clayton's a retired school employee and she spoke for them.

"I worked there for 19 years and I retired from there and I loved it," Clayton said. "Now we're really going to miss it, because our town is small but it's going to be smaller."

The school will officially close their doors on June 1. With only 19 young inmates still locked up, it wasn't unexpected, but the news still stung.

This announcement means the 54 employees still working at the school have to make a decision either keep a state job and relocate or stay in town, join the unemployed and start looking for local work.

The Texas Youth Commission says all those employees have the option of transferring to their other jails, but some workers NewsWest 9 talked to don't want to leave home.

Clayton's daughter has already transferred.

"She got transferred about two weeks ago in Giddings (State School). She's living over there working in Giddings, but it's sad because my grandson's gone - my six year old. It's a very sad deal, but she had to go."

Clayton and others fear the loss of jobs will hurt the economy and businesses in town, but one bar owner doesn't think he'll see a dip in customers.

"Not that much, maybe 3 or 4 people come in once a week (from the school,)" Pyote Hideaway Owner Jim Cline said. "Something like that."

However, he still hopes the school buildings won't go to waste.

"Maybe they'll put something else in there, you never can tell," Cline said. "They're not going to throw the buildings away."

University of Texas Lands owns the school buildings and while they think the facility will be best used as another detention center, the Executive Director told NewsWest 9 they're looking at all their options.