|By Margaret Fisher, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The brick building was one of five schools constructed in
Built in 1925, the six-room Rosenwald school was just a part of the campus that later became known as the
The property was deeded to
LCC officials have plans to renovate the 12,160-square-foot building, which is listed on the
The plan includes maintaining its historic architecture.
"We want to take the Rosenwald building and put it back into a condition to make it an asset to the community," Briley said, "and do the right thing."
The center would include a resource library and teaching basic skills, such as resume writing, that would enable people to become qualified for hiring.
Priorities are rewiring the electrical, updating the plumbing and eliminating any other safety issues. Walls, floors, ceilings and windows need repairing and the building needs a new heating, air-conditioning and ventilation system, Briley said.
Briley said the N.C. General Statutes require that any renovations to the building be funded through sources other than state money.
Lowe's provided funds a few years back to make the building "weather-tight," Briley said.
"They have committed
That money could provide a match for the minimum
Donations of any amount are welcomed, and significant donors could have portions of the building named after them.
For more than 20 years,
"What prompted us to asking Williams to move out," he said, "was a letter from an inspection done by our insurance carrier. ... And so at that point, I felt like the college had been put on notice and should not allow people to continue to occupy the building until we could take care of the health and safety issues."
Briley said it would be a liability, but also the "right thing to do," to discontinue the lease with the tenant.
Warren moved his business to another location on
"As much we loved William, as much as he was good for us and we were good for him," Briley said, "I felt like we had to ask him to move. The building is sitting there vacant until we can secure funding, hopefully from some kind of grant."
Before Greene Central was built and before de-segregation, black students attended small elementary schools up to about seventh grade. Many continued on to eighth grade at the Rosenwald school, and later to the larger building for high school classes.
"That (Rosenwald) building is important to us," she said, "because leaving the rural area in the county and being able to come to school, I guess we felt like we arrived."
Giles said the school prepared her academically and socially for the real world.
"That was, to me, like the educational hub," she said, "-- education for black people in
By then, the school had undergone numerous transitions, including an addition to the building. But it was always the poor sister to the white schools.
"Our books were older; our equipment was older," Giles said about the black school. "Many times our instructors had to go into their pockets to pull together to make sure we had adequate materials. It was a different time."
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