Proposal to Renovate the Historic West Broad School as a Cultural Heritage Site



The West Broad Governance Team has been working for nearly the past 3 years to talk about the neighborhood challenges and identify strategies to address them. The process has been driven by neighborhood input. We have taken that and traveled to several cities to look at neighborhoods that have similar challenges and have seen how they have successfully improved the economic, education, and environmental needs of their neighborhood. We are ready to take what we have learned and begin to address the challenges in our neighborhood.

We see an opportunity for the community partners to come together to accomplish a catalyst project for our neighborhood. The reason we want to start with this project, the preservation of the West Broad School, is because it is an important piece of our history and should be a mecca for educational, entrepreneurial, job, and life skills for all members of our community. Let me tell you a little bit about the history of the West Broad School – the school was established in the late 1800s as a school for African American children. Samuel F. Harris was an early teacher at the school and later became principal. Harris was a graduate of Tuskegee and came back to Athens with creative vision around how education could positively impact the whole community. We believe that the vision we have which honors Samuel F. Harris’s vision will serve as a model for communities around the country.

We are proposing a formal partnership at the West Broad Campus between the Clarke County School District, the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, and the Athens Land Trust.
• CCSD would continue to be the owner and long-term steward of the West Broad Campus.
• ACC would provide $3.2 million in 2012 SPLOST funds that are designated for youth development.
• Athens Land Trust would bring matching funds to complete the project, become the long-term lessee, be responsible for the renovation of the property as a cultural heritage site with the guidance of the community, would work with community organizations, groups, and members to determine the needed mix of uses and services to make the project meet community desires while remaining viable, and be responsible for the upkeep of the property over the term of the lease.


Envisioning the future of West Broad

In keeping with the historic character of the site, all building renovations will maintain the original appearance of the school buildings on Minor Street and Campbell Lane. The exteriors and interior hallways and restrooms will be restored so that the historic appearance can be appreciated and maintained while also making the buildings habitable again. We are proposing that, in order to accommodate new programming, these two buildings undergo minimal structural changes, with the classroom interiors being the only place for functional alterations. The Broad Street building, which is in poor structural condition, may require more extensive changes for safety purposes and to fit the proposed building uses.

All functions of the site would be designed to tell the history of the campus as a cultural heritage site.

Proposed Building Programming