Planning Committee Meeting Notes 2/9/2018

Meeting participants: Willa, David, Fatimah, Richard, Dan, Lauren, Les



  • We’ve lost an alum this year: Fox Koon (Ms. Gardenheight’s brother); and 2 last year
  • We received an invitation from Marti Rosner & Frye Gaillard who are writing a children’s picture book; would like to interview alumni for material. We have invited both alumni and their families. We have an event scheduled on Sat, Feb 24 at 11-1 at the school; Dan will bring a heater. We included a questionnaire with the invitation. Everyone at the friends group is invited to come
  • Dan wants to know how broad of an area (of the schools) will be covered in the book; Fatimah responded that it covers the entire south
  • Richard wanted to know if we could get rights to the book to use in programming
  • After the meeting on Feb 24, Fatimah wants to create an invitational letter to get alumni interested in offering classes at the school. Wants to encourage them to come up with ideas. Willa recommended thinking about what we want to call it. Richard recommended including this in the strategic plan


Income from OLLI: $200; all bills to date have been paid. See agenda for details

Contributions to date: $108,719.25

Expenditures to date: $86,749.64

Balance: $21,920.61

New Income: There was a $300 contribution from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation

New Expenses: Had a full table at the MLK breakfast


  • Worked on underpinning but had to stop due to cold weather; when there are no freezing nights, the crew will be ready to complete this task. Weather looks good next week, so it will probably resume then. We’ve found some brick (donated) that matches well and will be used.
  • Dan mentioned that this winter has made it difficult to make a plan. Electrical/rough it needs to happen first before we move forward with interior. We can work on the basement to level it to the doorway for good storage space; requires manual labor. Need to get dirt out first. Willa mentioned that it may be project that the college students can assist with. Willa will follow up with Carolina Wigg.
  • Dan found part of an old rustly desk in the woods. We should look at more of the mounds/piles of dirt to see if there’s other artifacts. There were 2 old basketballs and a football (probably tied to the recreation center).


  • Willa found a letter dated Feb 22, 1928 on Madison County Public Schools letterhead, requesting funds for the Rosenwald Schools 90 years ago. The school opened in Sept 1928.
  • Richard asked about an updated booklet; Willa said there’s no new updates. Richard mentioned that we need to update the last section about the friends group as it hasn’t been updated in the last 3-5 years. Willa mentioned we also need to update our strategic plan. March 2018 meeting will be used to work on those main two things: revisions for pamphlet/notated history and strategic plan (need to review facility use plan for Madison County Schools). Willa will provide a copy of the current documents to everyone before the meeting. Richard wanted to know the dimensions of the completed materials (Les mentioned it may be 3×7 for a trifold) because a custom kiosk will be made by the Mars Hill Univ’s facilities dept.
  • Willa wanted to know if we wanted to create a picture pamphlet that describes the work that has been done on the school
  • Simone is coordinating with Ryan to get pictures.
  • Les recommended that we ask Ryan to take the pictures when the project is complete.
  • Dan mentioned in some of our materials that we have some interviews done by Ms. Cheek and her son. They mention Rockefeller, Jr. coming to visit the school (Long Ridge Colored School); he gave money for the arts room. We don’t have a specific date (1917?). Dan looked through newspapers and found some info that provided a date: November 1928 (for a week). He came within 2 weeks of the school opening. Richard mentioned that Pauline was present during the interviews of the 3 older adults; we should get her input about this new finding
  • Dan visited the school this morning; found a stack of photos in an old chester drawer near Phillips’s house; Dan will talk to Phillip about getting those materials
  • National Register Form Update: Andy is attending the NR Council/Advisory mtg in Raleigh.


  • Submitted 2 applications to the National Trust on Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund – (1) Bricks/Mortar and (2) Initial Programing. Letters of Intent (LOI) were submitted on Jan 31, 2018. We should hear back in May 2018.
  • Cosby is back at work; his plans are to approach the school board to finish bricks and mortar. Willa wants to know if it would be helpful to prepare a marketing packet. Next school board mtg is Feb 19. It is important for Friends group to attend. Willa prepared it and finished at 5am this morning. Packet includes:
    • Intro letter from Friends
    • Most recent budget; shows no contributions from the school board
    • Board minutes
    • All Rosenwald schools in NC and their status
    • All schools NC NR study list of Rosenwald schools
    • Historical documentation of school funding
    • Plan #20/floorplan
    • Historical Budget items: Madison County School (TMHARS is budget item #36H)
    • Fisk University documentation
    • Preserving Rosenwald Schools, National Trust publication
    • Notated history
    • Original list of materials/donations letter
    • Rehabilitation to be Completed List
    • Strategic Plan, 2013-16
    • Google Map of school’s location
    • Potential Uses List
    • Copies of newspaper articles
    • Story of Joe Anderson


  • Grand Opening Update: Dan hasn’t done much; there’s 6 months left. He recommends delaying it an extra year. There’s too many major things that must first get done. Les mentioned that we need to set up the classroom right, need to figure out exhibition.
    • Willa recommended calling it a soft-opening during Homecoming
    • Richard plan wants to get a core group (4-5 individuals), with 3 subcommittees. Core group recommendations to be made by March 2018.


  • Ed has more surgery; Polly and Ed’s daughter also had surgery for a tumor (may not be malignant)
  • With the children’s book, Richard mentioned that we need to consider how outside published material may be consistent/conflict with our published material. We had a similar situation with NR nomination form.
  • Les: have we considered a facility manager for the school. Richard mentioned that when applying for grant, there needs to be a fixed percentage/line item for contribution to the endowment. David mentioned that the schools itself would happy to assist with programming/curriculum
  • Charity would like for the Friends Group meet with the new pastor this Sunday, Feb 11 at 2pm. Pastor: William Hamilton; instrumental in changing the name of the cemetery from Mars Hill to the church cemetery.
  • Nick Honeycutt (Middle School Principal) attended the MLK Breakfast with friends group. Oralene is presenting her story on Thurs. at the middle school
  • Next OLLI Inclusion Program on April 6, 2018 at 7pm. The Rosenwald Film will be shown and alumni will be invited to talk about the impact their Rosenwald School education had on them as adults.
  • Wallace Bohannon (from Brooklyn) just purchased a farm in Marshall. Interested in helping during work days. Is a member of the inclusion group at OLLI.
  • Willa mentioned that there’s a Mars Hill FB page story on Facebook recently on Gudger Barnett. We need to get some of our school stories. Richard mentioned that we have the interviews from Manuel and that we need to do one on the Long Ridge Community. Willa will like for Kevin Barnett to share Viola King’s story on this feed.
  • March’s meeting will be a retreat day; place, time, agenda: TBD