The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee held its meeting of June 14, 2013, in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church..
Attending were: David and Willa Wyatt, Ryan Phillips, Justin Metcalf, Teresa Phillips, Richard Dillingham, and Simone Bouyer.
Willa Wyatt, committee chair, opened the meeting at approximately 10:10 a.m. The minutes from May were reviewed. Some spelling corrections are needed. The talking points from the April meeting are still to come.
History Committee: Richard reports that the committee will be reviewing the 1940 census data. He is currently working on publishing a history of the area, covering 1845-1906. There are references to the black community, and Joe Anderson is mentioned. The book will be published in July.
Willa reported that no news has been received regarding the Block grant. After speaking to Forrest Gilliam, who mentioned that other recipients had been notified, the grant submitted for the Anderson Rosenwald School may not have been selected for funding. Connections in Raleigh are needed. Willa did show the floor plan to the county manager. Possibly Jim Baker or Bill Briggs may make contact with folks in Raleigh regarding the project. Karen Kinea (sp) will resubmit the grant for the next funding cycle, which will not be until the fall of 2014.
People are willing to volunteer, knowing the risks, to work on the project, following Scott Donald’s directions and guidelines for construction and restoration. The first steps would be to tear down the back part of the building that is falling down. The front needs to be mowed, and weed whacking is needed to control the poison ivy. A dumpster is needed. The next big purchases would be for windows, estimated at $10,000. The building needs to be secured. The siding can be salvaged. Restoration would be based on drawings provided by Scott. Dwight Smathers could help.
David spoke with a fellow headed to Raleigh. If we can put together a package about the project, financing could be sought from local businesses and residents. Wells Fargo, First Citizens Bank might be interested in sponsoring portions of the project. Fundraiser could be held around Labor Day. Caroline Twiggs wants her group to volunteer and plans to participate. The black fraternity on campus is great at setting up fun things to do at the event. Notify the college, and distribute information.
Following Scott’s details, the cost for the shell restoration would be $20,000. This would be part of Phase I. Can the windows be donated? Estimated cost is $700 each, installed by a fellow in North Georgia who specializes in Rosenwald school windows. There are 10 windows total. Justin says he can help on the construction committee. He is interested in historic buildings and architecture. He has restored and finished other old buildings including a grist mill. He can mill lumber and would be proud to be a part of the project. The siding needs to be specially ordered. He cannot mill that.
If we get started on the project, others will be inspired. We can present businesses with small steps that they can support. Following the strategic plan, the committee will take action.
Outdoor toilets need to be restored. They will not be usable, just for looking at on tours. Can they be built by volunteers? The siding and the roofs should match the school. They would not be painted, but left rough. The foundations are still there. The concrete slab foundation is still good. Justin has equipment he can use. Scott has the design for the outhouses. Two are needed, one for boys and the other for girls. A sample of the original outhouse stands at Oscars place.
Willa received a note from Mary Kaplan regarding the project. Mary is a member of the Vestas Antique Study Club. They are accepting submissions from sites of historical significance. The group is located in Asheville. In order to submit this project to the study club we need to have 501c3 status. All present agreed that we should send them materials about the project. HandMade in America also offers programs that could help. Offer to bring people out to see the school. How much visibility should the project receive at this point? Right now the area is safe because of it’s location.
Dan Slagle and Simone went to the site with metal detectors after the meeting held in June. They recovered some interesting items: a piece of chalk, the neck of a milk jug, a toy homemade sword, and the plate from the front of a jewelry box. They also found beer cans, scrap iron, and other trash.
We need to develop a promotional packet. It would be an introduction to the project with details on who to contact and how they can help. Scott, who has experience with historical projects, has a materials list. He has drawings, plans, and steps to take for restoration of the building. David says there are funds in the community. We need community involvement. A fundraising committee is needed; David volunteers. We need names of people who can contribute funds in any amount to preserve this historic building. Regional work is also being done to promote the history of our area. Donors to the project could be recognized on a plaque placed on display at Mount Olive Church.
The French Broad EMC is interested in contributing. Jim Barkley could be approached. Gene Ellison can help. He does not want to serve on a committee. David will speak with him; he has numerous contacts. It’s time to invite donors. Willa will start the 501c3 process with Dr. Wilcox. She will write a check to cover the fees for registering the Anderson Rosenwald Rehabilitation project a non-profit organization.
A permanent endowment could be established so that the project can be sustainable. David Briscoe will visit in August. He has memories of the school, his family, the community and church, that he can share. He was a leader of the Boy Scout troop that began at the school. He loves Mars Hill. People here remember him well. He will be interviewed in July. David is nationally known and has enormous connections. He is willing to serve on an advisory committee for the project. He will be interviewed on July 26 at 9 a.m. at Charity Ray’s house. The interview will be videotaped, followed by lunch.
All present agreed to proceed with fundraising for the project. A bulldozer could be used, as well as a dump truck for tearing down the back portion of the building. Some materials can be salvaged. David will work with Scott and Justin to organize a work day to take place before the Mount Olive homecoming. August 31 and September 1 is homecoming weekend. A notice can be put in the paper asking for volunteers. All restoration work needs to be historically correct. Scott will oversee any willing volunteers. The asbestos tiles can be put in plastic bags and disposed of.
Cleanup of the site could take place in late June or early July. Saturday, June 29 was selected as a cleanup dat. Volunteers will work from 9am until. The town has a dump truck we might be able to use. Willa will contact the town and the Sentinel. Lunch would be provided. Possibly ask Papa Nick’s to contribute pizza. Flyers are needed for the event.
The next meeting of the Rosenwald Project Planning Committee was planned for Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Olive Church.