Investigators search for possible forgotten cemetery near King High School

The Hillsborough County School District has initiated an investigation to determine if human remains were buried long ago on what is now a high school campus.

School Board Chair Tamara Shamburger said she received an email from a concerned citizen Thursday night suggesting an indigent African American cemetery may be located on King High School's property, where the school’s agricultural program operates.

An appraisal from 1959 states there's a potter's field located 470 feet east of the southeast corner of the school's property. However, the county reviewed documents, including deeds, aerial maps, an appraisal, and historical county and school records, but said they found conflicting information about the location of the possible cemetery.

"With potter's fields, there's no casket, no headstones, they're simply put right into the ground," explained Shamburger.

If the appraisal is wrong, school officials believe the cemetery could be located along the area that borders North Street.

"We are taking this very seriously," said Shamburger.

The area has been fenced off and the school's agricultural program was relocated.

Experts are expected to bring modern equipment early next week to begin examining the ground.

"We will show the highest level of respect for the individuals who may be buried in this cemetery and their descendants," said Superintendent Jeff Eakins.