Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting
Minutes from Friday, July 11, 2014
The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, July 11, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
Attending were: David & Willa Wyatt, Dan Slagle, Sandra Tolley, Forrest Gilliam, Ryan Phillips, Teresa Phillips, Charity Ray, Dorothy Coone, Richard Dillingham, Les Reker, Pauline & Edwin Cheek, Scott Donald, Bobbi Tousey, and Simone Bouyer.
Willa welcomed everyone to the meeting. Ryan and Teresa recorded statements from committee members to be used in the exhibit at the Rural Life Museum.
Minutes: Corrections made to the minutes from June: Ray Rapp was also present. In 1928 Rosenwald funded the school for $500 plus $250 in special aid, not $350.
Report from the Chair: Thousands of dollars have been contributed in-kind by committee members and partners. They have contributed time, materials, numerous hours of research, and architectural plans for the school. Thank you! The committee thanks David & Willa for their great leadership and contributions. They have provided funding for so many things!
Exhibition: Les updated the group on the exhibit, which opens September 6, the same weekend as the Mt. Olive homecoming. The exhibit will be on display until February 28, 2015. The Rosenwald school project will acquire the display panels at the end of the exhibit. All objects will be returned to their owners. A single image is needed for the intro panel “Our Story, This Place, to show the theme. There are amazing stories and legacies connected to the school. The exhibit briefly covers the lives of a few of the students.
Ryan has done a stupendous job with the graphics for the panels. Les shared printouts of the panels. Funding for the reception, About $3,000, is needed. A benefactor would be great. The Friends of Mountain Heritage may have a grant opportunity. Willa will check. Also the WNC Community Foundation may have grants. Les is working with ryan and Richard on the details.
The museum committee will meet again next week. Planning is underway for programs to be held during the exhibit. Les is working at writing grants. Help is needed for programming. What about a land program?
Fundraising: John & Jamie Gosnell donated $20 during the Mt. Olive Fish fry. Willa wrote a cover letter for the promotional kit. Changes to the letter include: use the word rehabilitation, not restoration; capitalize the phrase “our school” throughout the letter. David has a list of contacts for funding. Checks can be made to Madison County Schools. The school system writes receipts. More contributions are needed.
David has a list of potential donors. Copies of the promotional packet were shared with the group. Folks are interested in helping. Packets will be distributed to all interested parties. Charity can ask the hardward store for donations of lumber. Dr. Wilcox does business with Lowe’s. The school system has gotten grants/materials from Lowe’s.
History: Willa set all of Dan’s latest findings from 1928 on one page for the committee. Updates will be made to the exhibit. Pauline shared a 1983 interview with Shirley Sewell on herbal remedies with the committee. Pine resin was sued to cure felons (boils). Fetheral (sp) and Tansy (sp) were used for nerves. Pauline has photos of Shirley Sewell and Charity Ray. Simone can scan in the photos for use in the history and exhibit. During the Mt. Olive Fish Fry, Bernie Edwards shared stories about race relations in our area. He would be great to interview.
Media: Simone has updated the illustrated history to include the story on Rockefeller visiting the school. She removed the story about Ford visiting the school. She asks if both stories might be true. Both Ford and Rockefeller may have visited the school at different times and given donations. She has created a photo gallery on the website which includes all images used in the history.
Construction: Scott has plans for the privy. He will meet with the carpenter on Monday. He also went to see the old rock school. The windows look to be the same size as ours. Bernie Edwards has measurements of the rock building’s windows. If the rock building is rehabbed they’ll get new windows. Will they let us have the old windows? The rock building was built by the WPA. It will be fitted with vinyl clad windows. It is on the national register of historic buildings. There are no windows at all in the Mars Hill Rosenwald school. Repair is needed to the structure in order to install windows. NC is very strict about the types of windows used for historic structures. Must be single paned.
Our school is on the state study list. It is important to follow the guidelines for rehabilitation. What can volunteers do? Reframe windows. Work on the foundation. Materials could be donated and a volunteer work day arranged. We need a good carpenter. Eight of the window openings are in good shape. Two of the windows in a 10 foot section need major work. The asbestos floor and ceiling tiles need to be removed. The town will take them away to the landfill. The bead board should be left in place. An inspection is needed, and a building permit for the plumbing and electrical work. Are there termites? Can the school system inspect for insect damage? They have a contract for bugs.
The combination for the lock is 1930 if you want to work on the building. The building is ready for electricity. Madison county schools can add a meter. The pole is there. The ramp is fine for now. It will need to be removed for work on the foundation. Dan will contact volunteers. Justin Metcalf and some of the students at the college may be interested in volunteering. Chairs on loan from Mars Hill Baptist Church are stored inside of the school. Thank you!
Community Relations: A regional Rosenwald meeting could include representatives from our state and the surrounding areas. Willa will contact Catherine Carey about organizing a regional meeting. Each county has a historical society. Notify them about a Rosenwald gathering. Would this be a membership based group? Organizations could be invited to join. MHU could host the event. The NC Rosenwald group meets in Edenton each month. The meeting held in Columbia, SC is much closer to us. The Brevard school, according to Fisk University, was not funded by Rosenwald. The school does use a Rosenwald plan. It was built by the WPA. Located on Main Street, it is an administrative building open to the public.
The heritage fest takes place in October. Last year our booth was just outside of the Rural Life Center. Can we get that same space this year? The festival is from 10am to 4pm. The museum is open from 1-5 pm.
Board Development: Within two to three weeks a plan will be ready. Bylaws and the 501c3 are needed. Richard has a base for the articles of incorporation. Thank you! The school board’s attorney, Campbell & Chattley, are working on our 501c3. Bobbi feels we have enough information to move forward with the process. We have a strategic plan. Judy Futch, Bobbi and the attorney will review. It helps if our committee has an attorney as a board member. Richard makes a motion to consider possible articles and bylaws. David adds a second. All present approved. Bobbi can bring an application to the grants committee.
The Madison County Board of Education is our main vested interest. What happens if we lose their support? Dr. Wilcox is nearing retirement age. A meeting is needed with the school board to cover contingencies. All details need to be written out. The school system has supported the school for 45 years. Who will support the school without the support of Madison County schools? Our partners and the county commissioners support the project; they cannot fund or purchase the building. Willa will not ask our partners to take financial responsibility if Madison County Schools steps down. Can we lease the property? The school system wants to use the building as a museum and community center. A statement of permanence is needed. The community needs and wants this project.
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 p.m.
Next Meetings: The Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School will meet Friday, August 8, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Olive Church in Mars Hill, and Friday, August 22 at 10 a.m. at Stephens Lee in Asheville.