Fairview to be ready be­fore Christ­mas

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker [email protected]

Joyce Per­due-Smith thinks com­ple­tion of the restora­tion of the old first grade build­ing on the Fairview-Brown cam­pus would be a won­der­ful Christ­mas present for the en­tire Cave Spring com­mu­nity.

She’s led the fundrais­ing ef­fort for the project for close to a decade and is ex­cited to see years of work come to fruition as the fin­ish­ing touches are put on the build­ing.

The orig­i­nal build­ings on the Fairview-Brown cam­pus were built in the 1920s ex­clu­sively for African-Amer­i­can chil­dren with guid­ance from Booker T. Wash­ing­ton and fi­nanc­ing from Julius Rosen­wald, pres­i­dent of Sears Roe­buck.

The restora­tion phase will re­store the lone re­main­ing build­ing to the way it looked when it was added in the mid-1940s. It was listed on the Ge­or­gia Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion’s Top Ten Places in Peril list in 2011.

Eric Daven­port, with Sa­van­nah Con­struc­tion and Preser­va­tion, said once the chal­lenge of sta­bi­liz­ing the build­ing was com­pleted, the restora­tion ef­fort went very smoothly.

“It was rel­a­tively pain­less, we re­ally had far less hur­dles than we had an­tic­i­pated on some­thing like this,” Daven­port said. “This is a jewel in the rough. As bad as it looked to be­gin with, it be­haved a whole lot bet­ter than we had an­tic­i­pated.”

He ex­pects to be have the first phase of restora­tion com­plete by the mid­dle of next week.

“We’ve got a few odds and ends, the elec­tri­cal and the HVAC fin­ished up, just some punch list stuff,” Daven­port said.

Elec­tri­cians Thomas and David Nix have been work­ing on the wiring for the last cou­ple of days, pulling wiring to boxes that are set into the walls at es­sen­tially the same level that orig­i­nal elec­tri­cal out­lets were lo­cated. Thomas Nix said that was con­sid­er­ably higher than mod­ern stan­dards, but the 29-inch level would have been true to the level that was used in the 1940s.

Old pull-chain ceil­ing light fix­tures that were orig­i­nal to the school build­ing have been cleaned up and will be re-in­stalled to ac­com­mo­date old Edi­son-style light bulbs that were orig­i­nal as well.

When walk­ing on the floor of the old school build­ing, one can still feel that a joist in the mid­dle of the floor­ing is some­what higher, but again, that is in keep­ing with the ef­fort to save as much of the orig­i­nal build­ing as was hu­manly pos­si­ble.

Re­place­ment floor­ing is ob­vi­ous in some places as is re­place­ment wood in the in­te­rior side walls.

Daven­port said a hand­i­capped ramp planned to go on the back side of the build­ing was de­layed un­til the sec­ond phase of the proj- ect and as ad­di­tional fund­ing is se­cured.

It took nearly a decade of fundrais­ing, capped off in the last year by a chal­lenge con­tri­bu­tion from Wes Wal­raven and Brian Moore, own­ers of the Lyons Bridge Farm in Cave Spring, to get the restora­tion go­ing.

Moore and Wal­raven agreed to con­trib­ute $75,000 if the com­mu­nity raised an­other $100,000 by the end of this past Au­gust. The com­mu­nity stepped up and met the chal­lenge be­fore the end of March.

Those funds, cou­pled with ear­lier grants and fundrais­ing ef­forts, brought in enough money for restora­tion work to be­gin in Septem­ber.

Daven­port said if all goes well, their work should be com­pleted by the mid­dle of next week.

‘It was rel­a­tively pain­less, we re­ally had far less hur­dles than we had an­tic­i­pated.’

Eric Daven­port Sa­van­nah Con­struc­tion and Preser­va­tion

/ Doug Walker

David Nix pulls elec­tric wiring in­side the Fairview-E.S. Brown school build­ing in Cave Spring as part of on­go­ing restora­tions.

/ Doug Walker

The ini­tial phase of restora­tion of the old Fairview-Brown school first grade build­ing is near­ing com­ple­tion in Cave Spring. Joyce Per­dueSmith said the com­ple­tion of the long-an­tic­i­pated restora­tion will be a won­der­ful Christ­mas gift to the com­mu­nity.

Joyce Per­dueSmith

/ Doug Walker

Thomas Nix ex­am­ines one of the old light fix­tures that was orig­i­nal to the Fairview-Brown school build­ing in Cave Spring and will be re-in­stalled as part of the restora­tion ef­fort.

Doug Walker

Some re­place­ment wood is ob­vi­ous on the in­te­rior of a side wall of the Fairview-Brown build­ing./

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