COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As we approach the 150th anniversary of the first African American School in Columbus, there is some big news that may put the school closer to reopening.
Nov. 11 marked a huge breakthrough for the restoration of the Claflin School. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation named Claflin as one of the Top Ten Historic Places in Peril.
"It's very significant this is huge when we get that type of recognition in the Top Ten Places in Peril in the State," said Reverend Richard Jesse. "And what we are seeing is more attention being given to the school as we go through the process of restoring this great facility."
Rev. Jesse's vision of opening the school in 2018 is becoming more of a reality thanks in part to The Georgia Trust.
Friends of Historic Claflin, a local organization dedicated to restoring the school, projects the renovation to restore the building will cost close to $11 million.
"This is about us preparing young folk to be able to realize the American Dream, to overcome some of the obstacles, some of the tragedies of today," Rev. Jesse said.
Claflin hopes to become like Secondary Industrial High in Columbus which was featured on the Top Ten list in 2012 and is currently undergoing a rehabilitation.
Due to some discrepancies in the lease agreement between Friends of Historic Claflin and the City of Columbus, the renovation project is at a temporary stand still.
Rev. Jesse hopes their attorneys and the city can iron out the details and continue their scheduled meetings on Monday.
Friends of Historic Clafin hope to take control of the lease from the city once the restoration project is complete. Secondary Industrial High is located in the Waverly Terrace Community.