Grant money will turn old school building into community center - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Grant money will turn old school building into community center

"I remember walking through these doors every single day,” Simon Wofford Jr. said. “I attended here from the 8th grade through the 12th." "I remember walking through these doors every single day,” Simon Wofford Jr. said. “I attended here from the 8th grade through the 12th."

It's a school building that stood through years when people of different races couldn't meet in the same place, back when schools are segregated.

Now, more than 45 years later, plans are coming together to open it as a community center where everyone is welcome.

Community leaders say a $200,000 grant will make it possible. Howardville is just one of two towns in a four-state region that was awarded the money.

"I remember walking through these doors every single day," Simon Wofford Jr. said. "I attended here from the 8th grade through the 12th."

To most people, it's just an old rundown building, but to former students of Howardville High, it's a piece of history.

"It really hasn't been that long ago when we had separate schools and separate this and separate that," Glendell Timms Hamilton said.

It was built in 1957 as an all black school. Today, it's soon to be restored.

"It would be a lot of history for the generation that's here now and the generation to come," Hamilton said.

Vanessa Fraizer, executive Director of the Howardville Community Betterment says the future center will serve many purposes. It'll hold community events, a job training center, an emergency shelter, and a historic site.

"It looks bad but EPA came in and the architect says the building is still sound," Fraizer said.

Hamilton called it a blessing not only because of the opportunities it'll bring to the community but also the history.

"We need something that was ours that we can see now and that the younger generation can see because they don't know anything about the all black school and the things we went through," Hamilton said.

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