- Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 12:21
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A Ralph Bunche advisory committee established by the King George Board of Supervisors will host representatives from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources at its meeting next week.
The committee was established by the Board of Supervisors at the request of the Ralph Bunche High School alumni association. Its primary purpose is to make recommendations to the county for future uses for the building and the historic site.
Along with that, it is tasked to investigate and identify funding sources and develop an implementation schedule. That could include suggestions for renovations and rehabilitation of the building and possible uses for the rest of the acreage.
The historic building is located on 7.8 acres of a larger 33.2 acre site on the east side of US 301, north of the Circle intersection at Route 205.
The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 3 at 5:00 p.m. in the board room of the Revercomb Administration building, located behind the King George Courthouse located on Route 3 (Kings Hwy).
Next week’s meeting is expected to provide more clarification as to whether there are any restrictions on renovations or updates to the building that might affect its current status as a listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
Those designations were obtained by the alumni association in spring 2006, with authorization by then-owner, the King George School Board.
|The following wording will appear on the historical road marker:
“RALPH BUNCHE HIGH SCHOOL – Ralph Bunche High School was built as the direct result of the Federal District Court case Margaret Smith et al. v. School Board of King George County, Virginia, which was filed in 1947. The judge ruled that jurisdictions should ensure the “equalization” of segregated school facilities for whites and African Americans. White segregationists hoped to avoid integration by constructing “separate but equal” facilities, but the NAACP quickly moved on to demanding the end of segregation altogether. Named after the noted political scientist and diplomat, Ralph Bunche High School opened in 1949 and closed in 1968 after the county desegregated its schools.”
Nicole Thompson told the committee last month that her understanding from conversations with representatives from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources is that the site is the historical aspect of the location, and not the building itself. Thompson is one of the 14 members of the committee and serves as the economic development director for the county.
Thompson said she was told that the building itself is considered to have no historical architectural value. However, there is no denying that the building has strong sentimental value and a personal sense of history for those who attended the school and for many more in the community.
But if there are no restrictions on renovations or changes that can be made to the building, more flexibility is available for renovations going forward. There has been discussion of using a portion of the building for such things as an events venue or cultural arts center.
But first and foremost, there is a strong desire exhibited by the committee members to have the building house a Civil Rights museum.
The idea is to provide displays about the building’s history and to recreate and furnish some classrooms and other rooms in the building as a museum to provide a backdrop to the history that the building represents in the nation’s early civil rights achievements in the modern era.
In addition, it was announced last month that the building will receive a historical marker approved by the state, expected to be installed an
d celebrated in May 2013.