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New Hope Rosenwald School receives donation

FREDONIA — Members of the New Hope Foundation met with representatives of the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation & Development Council Tuesday morning to thank them for their support of the New Hope Rosenwald School project.

Coosa Valley donated $2,500 this year to help with the foundation’s ongoing school restoration effort.

The New Hope School opened in 1919 and provided education for African American children through 1958. It was then converted into a private home for a time and sat idle for a number of years until a restoration effort began a few years ago. The Coosa Valley RC&D contributed to this going along with the Alabama Historical Commission.

“Donations really help us,” said Foundation President George Barrow. “They have gotten us to where we are now, but there’s so much more we need to do.”

The AHC has come through with a donation of $14,000 and the Charter Foundation a donation of $10,000 for 2020.

“We’d like to stain the floor and coat it with polyurethane,” Barrow said. “That would preserve it while maintaining an original appearance. We also want to paint the exterior of the building. We also need to have electricity and plumbing for the building.”

A long-range goal would be to have an extension on the back that’s on the original 1911 floor plan drawn by noted architect Robert Taylor, the first African American to attend MIT and to be fully certified as an architect. The extension would allow for a conference room and some restrooms.

Representing the Coosa Valley RC&D were Chris Langley, board chairman; Heidi Richards, executive director and Christy Cochran, office manager. The organization is dedicated to protecting, enhancing and developing natural and human resources in its 11-county coverage including Chambers, Tallapoosa, Coosa, Randolph, Clay, Talladega, St. Clair, Etowah, Calhoun, Cherokee and Cleburne counties. Its office is located at Hollis Cross Roads.

Also present for the morning tour of the building were State Sen. Randy Price and State Rep. Bob Fincher.

“This is a wonderful building,” Rep. Fincher said. “Your foundation has done a remarkable job in restoring it and that work needs to continue.”

“You have taken on a big job, but the passion to see it through is there,” Price said. “I thank you for what you have done in restoring this special place.”

Barrow showed everyone a scale model he’s built of the New Hope School, including the new addition to the right rear of the building.

“We will use it as a museum and a place to have reunions, family get-togethers and the like,” Barrow said. “It would help us a lot to have this extension. We could keep the classrooms like they are and have a conference room and bathrooms in the new addition.”

The visit to New Hope School was the first stop in what was planned to be a very busy day for the Coosa Valley officials. They also planned to visit Wadley High School, Woodland High and the Bethel East Volunteer Fire Department. They planned to make check presentations to help with the STEM robotics team at Wadley High, weight room improvements at Woodland High and funds for extrication equipment for Bethel East.

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