With overcrowded buildings at the African American school in southwestern Bartlett, the Bartlett trustees bought four buildings from Camp Swift in Bastrop to enlarge the facilities. A bond issue passed in 1948, and plans began for a U-shaped building. Otto Lange served as contractor for the schoolhouse, built here, on the former site of the Bartlett Civilian Conservation Corps Camp.
Gentry "Prof" Powell, Sr., and his wife, who had both served at the original Bartlett Colored School, moved with the students to the new school building in Fall 1949; earlier that year, in May, the school had celebrated its first Junior-Senior Prom and graduation, having become a Class B Accredited 12-grade school the previous school year. The students and teachers celebrated the new building on September 16, 1949, and for the next several years continued growing, as students from the nearby communities of Holland, Granger and Davilla transferred to the Bartlett Colored School. As a Class A Accredited high school, it became the Booker T. Washington School in 1957 in honor of the famed black educator.
As the school grew, it gained success in all areas, competing in University Interscholastic events in sports and academic subjects, including debate, spelling, declamation and music. Coach Gentry Powell led his football and track and field teams to championship games, winning at both district and state levels.
Bartlett schools integrated in 1965, and the Powells moved with other dedicated teachers to Bartlett High School, where they continued as educators. Today, an alumni group preserves the heritage of the early African American school and its role in the development of the community.