Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting
The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, March 11, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. at Stephens Lee in Asheville.
Attending were: David & Willa Wyatt, Fatimah Shabazz, Oralene Simmons, Sarah Hart, and Simone Bouyer.
Sponsoring windows: Window frames could feature two plaques for upper and lower window for sharing of contributions. Oralene would like a window honoring her grandmother Effie. Creative fundraising ideas are needed to support alumni in claiming windows. Willa shared photos of the school with windows and building wrap.
Bob Zink has sponsored a full window. Additional sponsorships are available for the back windows. The end window on the back is also available. Lay-away plans can be created. The Covington Grant was used to pay for the windows. The building is solid now, with no creaking or swaying. The addition is large enough to meet in. It will include a small office on the left corner. The bathrooms will be located in the addition.
The school faces east and west so sun lights the interior. The chalkboard hangs on the left side. The stage will go back in. Some flooring can be saved. Oralene remembers men cutting trees to build the frame for the stage. It was sturdy and well-built. Productions were held at the school every spring. Fatimah will donate her mother’s piano to the school. She has a friend who will help move and tune it. She also has sheet music, which needs cataloging. Volunteers or student help is needed to catalog the music. Could be good for a class project. Willa will ask at MHU.
Construction: David reported that the windows have been installed. There is $11k left in the budget. Work continues to finish the outside of the building. Doors are needed. The steps have been installed and the ramp is installed. The siding is on the addition and the windows have been painted. A work day was held with Dan and David two weeks ago. The ceiling tiles have been removed on half of the building. Very dirty work. Nails need to be pulled from the boards. Dan has created a system of ropes and pulleys that allow him to lower the boards to the floor. Dan visited a school in Alabama to see their room divider. The folding doors dividing the space open from the middle.
Estimates are needed for new bead board. David is waiting to hear from John Teeter at Pepsi Cola. He hasn’t heard from Wells Fargo. David will contact them next week. Asheville Savings has declined to support the project. He will apply to the State Employees Credit Union. He will pursue this lead and submit the needed paperwork. They do give scholarships.
A-B Tech’s construction class may be able to help. David talked to Dennis King, and he will take instructiors to see our school. A-B Tech could hold satellite classes at the school. French Broad Baptist Men’s Association helped with renovations to Mt. Olive Church. Willa will ask if the group could help with the siding and insulation at our school. MB Haynes will be handling the plumbing. Buncombe Schools will handle the electrical system. The Mormon Church decided that our project would not fit their schedule. They needed one day of work for 100 men. David will get the town to install a water meter. The septic system will be inspected by the enviromental agency.
Fundraising & Outreach: Three weeks ago the Jewish Film Festival screened a documentary about Rosenwald. The group that organized the festival plans to donate a copy of the video to our group. The Rosenwald story is an amazing one. Plans are underway to schedule a screening for alumni. Rosenwald touched many lives. He met Dr. Charles Drew, Marian Anderson, and donated funds for numerous community projects. Each project he funded required contributions from the community. His is a very inspiring story.
Willa met with 30 people from the Jewish community after the film. They would like to see Rosenwald’s photo displayed in the school. Yes, we should have a photo of Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington on display. These are both great teaching tools. Our history of the school panels were displayed in the lobby during the screening. A total of $150 was donated at the screening. All funds go towards construction. Willa is planning a tour in July for the Jewish Film group.
A woman associated with the Vance birthplace is interested in helping promote the school. An article ran in the Urban News requesting donations for the windows. Willa wrote a great grant proposal. Our 501(c)3 status is in place.
Big news! Willa received a letter from Claudia Brown in Raleigh. The NC National Registry for Preservation has grant funds. They will recommend our school, pay all fees and do the work needed to obtain funding for our school! Willa also received a letter from Dr. Wilcox who recommends that Madison County schools continue to support our school. Willa will share the news about the Preservation grant funds with the school board at their next meeting. The Registry will create a press release. The News Record and Sentinel can run a story about the Registry funds.
Garnet Sprinkle has collected news articles on the school and alumni for years. Willa will make copies of all of the articles. Mrs. Sprinkle’s husband, Bobby, passed away May 26. She has many stories and will be interviewed. Her house is near David and Willa’s. She was born and raised there, and served as a public health nurse.
Willa plans to begin a road show about the school next year. There were not enough people registered at Blue Ridge Community College for a presentation there. There is a large Jewish community in Hendersonville. The Rosenwald film could be screened there to gain more interest. The Cooperative Extension Office has requested that the panels about the school be displayed there. The News Record & Sentinel is also interested in displaying the panels. And the libraries. How about the Center for Diversity? Oralene will contact Deborah Miles.
Joy Kish shared the information about the window fund at MHU. There was no response. Can we ask Dr. Lunsford? MHU should support this project. We can also ask Richard Dillingham for ideas. There should be a way for MHU to honor Joe Anderson through their support of this project. Charity Ray should also be honored. We need to find the right person to ask. The university is busy constructing two new buildings. Founder’s day in October may be a good opportunity for MHU to honor their connection to our school. Kevin Barnett and the Viola Barnett story also need to be told. O’Neal Shelton may be able to help with contact suggestions. Oralene will request funds from Marsh Banks and Dr. Seymore.
Other News: A new modular home has been installed past the school. They required a 16 foot right of way near the school. No damage was done to the trees or to the school. The school does own the road.
Ryan has videos of our meetings. Lauren Raybern took minutes at the May 13 meeting. She has also done work with the National Registry. Willa will send the minutes to Simone. Going through the historical school board minutes, Willa noted the names of committeemen from Hot Springs. Shiloh held a Rosenwald School reunion.
An open house will be held at the school on Labor Day. Sarah featured our school in the Stephens Lee alumni newsletter.
The Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School will meet again Friday, July 1 at 10 a.m. in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.