Minutes from Friday, February 12, 2016

Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting

The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, February 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at Mars Hill Baptist Church on North Main Street. There was no heat at Mt. Olive Baptist church.

Attending were: David & Willa Wyatt, Richard Dillingham, Dan Slagle, Omar McClain, Fatimah Shabazz, Scott Donald, Ryan Phillips, Lauren Raybern, and Simone Bouyer.

Ryan and Dan Slagle worked to create a 30-minute video on the restoration of Rosenwald Schools for the group to watch. The video was part of a longer presentation given at the Rosenwald School’s National Conference. The video included details on repairing and caring for the school’s roofs and foundations. Foundations tend to use handmade bricks which need to use a lime based mortar, not Portland cement with does not breathe. Bricks will crack if too moist or wet. Vents are needed under the crawlspace to allow for air circulation. Lots of details focus on the need for all materials to breathe and not trap moisture.

Exterior paint can cause decay of the wood underneath. If paint peels, it is due to moisture. Thin paints work best. Thick paints will seal in moisture and cause problems. Use a wood preservative on exposed boards and window sills. Don’t pressure wash your building. Doing so destroys the wood; stays wet/moist for weeks. Use oil treatment, such as turpentine and linseed oil, before priming. Stabilizes the wood and preserves it. Use putty for filling cracks. Epoxy caulk will create moisture problems. Buildings can last tens of years if properly cared for.

Most air is lost through the attic. An energy audit will show heat loss areas. Insulation in the walls should not be placed directly against the exterior or interior walls, doing so will cause rot due to moisture. Leave a gap for air flow. Use baffles to create air space. Walls should breathe into the attic. The full video can be seen on Youtube and on the National Rosenwald School website.

After the video, Willa distributed the agenda and copies of the minutes from January 2016. Lauren Raybern joined us. She lives in Barnardsville with her son and husband. She saw the exhibit and took the day off to attend our meeting.

Minutes: The minutes from January 2016 were approved. Les has provided Willa with a copy of the guest book from the “Our Story This Place” exhibition.

Construction: Scott talked a bit about the benefits of adding gutters to the building. Helps prevent erosion and damage to the foundation. A French drain could also be dug around the building. Recessed skirting will be added on three sides of the building. The back is bricked in by the addition. The windows are all in except for four. The sill plates had to be repaired and the door sill needs replacing. The back windows are in. Lots of daylight is coming into the building! The addition is framed in. The new floor plan allows for two bathrooms. The Madison county school system will provide wiring plans. IT folks will work with Scott on the plans.

Fundraising: David announced that we have received $8,000 from Tourism & Development (TDA). The addition is up and galvanized steel roofing has been ordered. The screws attaching the steel roof panels to the building will be covered by the next piece overlapping it. The building had to be braced and jacked up for a new rafter and work on the sills. The workmen have repaired the rotted sills and connected the wall to the floor. Construction is on hold now due to weather. The Willis’ are doing a great job! They are also helping with fundraising. Some flooring has been saved. Clayton Riddle, an excellent carpenter, is working on restoring the floor. More artifacts have been found, including an old Pepsi bottle. David will ask John Tetter about the age of the bottle. Books and desks were also found. Vintage Fab is restoring one of the desks. The new addition is a big, strong structure. The great design of the building allows for lots of daylight. The TDA grant stressed the importance of sealing the building. Thanks O’Neal and Bill Ricker for your support!

The next step is to raise more money. Photos and a request for donations can be added to the website. An estimate of $75,000 is needed to finish the building. That will take us through stage 5. Estimate includes new materials and crew. An updated cost projection is needed. The group asks if we have enough insurance. The school is insured through the school system. Willa will ask about insurance. The address of the school is 225 Mt. Olive Drive.

Willa has copies of the window fund flyer. She sent some to Joy Kish to share with the MHU NAACP chapter. The windows have been paid for, however sponsorships are still needed to cover their cost. Willa will contact Phyllis Stiles about fundraising. People are asking if there is a payment plan for the window donations. Willa says it is ok to pay as you go. This would be a pledge. It would be good to have an online way to accept payments. Paypal is a great way to accept online contributions. Since payments go through Madison County Schools, it would need to be their Paypal account.

Karen Kiehna is exploring other grants. Plans for the school include an interactive smart board. E rate funding is available for 2016-17 through Madison County Schools. Headsets and stands for panels could be funded by a Blue Ridge National Heritage grant. Funds must be used within 15 months.

Alumni: Fatimah reports that our Facebook page has 125 likes. Contact our Facebook followers by adding posts on Facebook about the project and our needs. Fatimah is contacting alumni and sending them the window fund request, the alumni legacy history, the list of possible uses for the school, and a notecard with Charity’s painting on it. She has 20 packs set to go and needs about 20 more. It is time for alumni acknowledgements and support. We need to invite them to meetings and invite them to share their photos and artifacts.

History: Dan reminds us to preserve the history of the structure. Be cautious with painting and repairs. Kevin Watkins, a student at MHU and intern, in involved with the intergration of schools in Yancey county. His grandmother was involved. He has original documents and videotapes. These items will be placed in MHU’s archives. We need to share our story with OLI for future support of our project. Barbara Briggs Willard knows the Long Ridge families. Her family gave the original acre for the school. David & Willa spent four hours with her.

Doug Robinson, a member of the board of education in the 1930s, sued the county commissioners. After that they ruled in favor of the county getting Rosenwald funds. Willa has a meeting in Hot Springs with Hazel Moore, who has written a book on Hot Springs. She worked in the library.

Work Days: Dan thanks Ryan, David and Willa for their work on the ceiling. About 1/3 of the ceiling has been removed. There is more work to do once the contractors are finished. More beadboard will be needed to finish the walls. The original boards measure 3/8 x 3-3/8 inches wide. A company in Texas makes new bead board, but it measure 3-3/4 wide. The ceilings will be redone using new materials. David will contact the Leatherwoods. The original building had two lights and one outlet. The new plan calls for 16 outlets. Little things are changing the original look of the building. Perhaps one side can have an authentic look with the wood stove.

Looking Ahead: Future plans include the purchase of land for parking around the school and alumni/family use of the facility. Permission has been given to access the spring from the school. The trail crosses the Briscoe property. This is a great opportunity for volunteers from the college to create a path. The Visitors Center has published a new driving guide. In the future we could be included on the map.

How is the old Mars Hill rock school connected to our school? The rock school is in the National Registry of Historic buildings. Can fixtures be salvaged from the rock school? Only if the building is to be destroyed. The rock school was built using Rosenwald plan #6. The rock school and the Laurel school were WPA projects. Estimated cost for restoration of the rock school is $3 million. It could be used as a business incubator or office building.

Media: Simone has added photos of the construction to the website, along with the request for funding for the windows. Ryan’s video of the groundbreaking was also added to the website.

Other News: Willa is arranging school visits for Black History Month. The week of February 15th at Mars Hill Elementary from 9-11 a.m.; 4th & 5th graders at Brush Creek Elementary; Madison Middle School on Thursday from 10:20-11 a.m. The curriculum includes copies of the illustrated and notated history. Madison County Schools have made the copies. Students will each receive a copy. School visits may continue into March. The board is invited to attend. Exact dates are needed and alumni are encouraged to participate. Willa is working on the schedule and will contact Sarah Hart and Oralene Simmons.

The banner will be displayed at each school. It is currently on display in Madison County Schools Central Office. It generates lots of interest and conversation. Willa is sending window fund details to the school board with a reminder to donate. David and Willa have agreed to purchase ½ window ($857). How much would it cost the Friends’ group to purchase ½ window? ($857 / 15 Friends = $57.13)

Ryan photographed the Joe Anderson memorial. He met the students who provide upkeep for the memorial. They are part of a fraternity interested in helping with our project. Ryan talked a bit on Les’s radio show, aired on WART, about Rosenwald Schools.

The meeting adjourned at 12:12 p.m.

The Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School will meet again Friday, March 11 at 10 a.m. in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Respectfully submitted,
Simone Bouyer