Minutes – July 2010

Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting

July 8, 2010

Peterson Conference Room, Mars Hill College


Willa Wyatt, acting chair of the committee, opened the meeting of the planning committee at 10 am. There were 13 persons in attendance.

Richard Dillingham said that he wished to propose a change in the mission statement adopted at the last meeting.

As adopted, the mission statement read:

The Long Ridge Community’s Anderson Rosenwald School will serve as a Community Cultural Center intended to promote a fuller understanding of Appalachian black history and to enhance education at all levels.

Dillingham proposed that, rather than “Appalachian black History….” The mission statement should say “Blue Ridge black history.”  He said this is because “Appalachian” black history would include the involvement of African American people in Kentucky’s coal mining business, which is beyond the scope of the Long Ridge School Project.

After some discussion, Will Hoffman made a motion that the committee use “Southern Appalachian black history” in the mission statement, and with that change, that the minutes from the June meeting be approved.  Charity Ray seconded.  Motion carried.

Willa Wyatt reported that Stewart Coates, chair of the committee, was in Louisiana working with a crew on the oil spill cleanup.  Coates is unsure when he will return.  However, he has said that he would speak with Roy Jay Young of Mars Hill about using his earthmoving equipment to clean up the sapling trees and other large plants that are growing up around the school building.  In Coates’ absence, David Wyatt said he would speak to Young about doing this.  He will also see about getting the poison ivy sprayed.

Dillingham is speaking with Lifeworks Field Coordinator Travis Proffitt to see if he will organize a group of students at Mars Hill College who would be interested in cleaning out around the school to earn credit toward necessary volunteer hours.

David Wyatt said he would get Bobby McMahan, surveyor, to survey the property around the school to find out exactly where the property that goes with the school begins and ends.  This should also tell the group who owns the paved cul-de-sac right in front of the school, which will be crucial to the further development of the project.

Charity Ray brought a new painting she had done of the school.  It was agreed that Teresa Buckner would get the painting scanned at the college, so that it could be included in the video about the Rosenwald Schools produced by the Elon Group.

Dillingham said there are some of the records of the Madison County School Board that he has been unable to find.  He is going through the records to find references to the Long Ridge School to piece together an “official” history.  He needs to find out where those missing records are.

Scott Donald went over for new members some of the information about the peel-and-stick material that he has recommended to “dry-in” the building until a proper roof can be completed.  He brought an internet printout about the material which is incorporated in these minutes as Attachment #1.  He also brought a drawing of the roof plan for the school, which is incorporated in these minutes as Attachment #2.

Donald recommends that the material be placed on the roof as soon as possible, and that the new roofing be built over top of it.

Will Hoffman asked if the architectural work done by Scott Donald could be counted toward the matching funds which will be necessary to get funding from NC Historic Preservation Trust.  Willa said she thought it could, but she will check.

Willa plans to meet with Kaye Myers and Becca Johnson on July 27 to discuss the possibility of Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Grant funding.  Myers feels that the Anderson School project is a “perfect match” for this grant funding, and that the grant could possibly provide as much as $30,000 or $40,000.

Myers also believes it would be best for the grant-writing committee to write the grant in terms of the work of the committee, rather than as an extension of the Board of Education.  This is because the Board has owned the building for a long time, and has done nothing with it.  Writing the grant in terms of the committee will explain why there is a “sudden” interest in the school.

In consideration of the size and importance of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Grant, the committee decided to revisit the language of the mission statement.  There was a lengthy discussion.  Willa Wyatt will send various versions of the mission statement, using “Southern Appalachian” and “Blue Ridge Region,” to describe the local region, and send it to committee members.  This topic will be discussed again at the next meeting.

There was a lengthy discussion about planning a hot dog picnic and fundraiser event at the recreation park on Crooked Street in Mars Hill.  Entertainment would include the Mt. Olive singers, as well as the video made by the Elon Students.  The tentative date for the event was July 29.

The committee decided to meet again on September 10, at 10 am, Location to be announced later.

Respectfully submitted,

Teresa Buckner, Acting Recorder



After speaking with Superintendent of Schools Ron Wilcox, Willa Wyatt and Will Hoffman recommended that the fundraiser be put off until September.