Neglected school buildings becoming an issue

Published 10:14 am Friday, March 19, 2021

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Several old and abandon historical structures in Charlotte Court House are causing concerns for one town council member.

Councilmember Terry Ramsey said the old Charlotte Elementary School and old School Administration Building at 200 and 300 David Bruce Avenue beside the County Health Department have become eyesores.

“This is something some town council members have concerns about, and we are looking into appropriate action,” Ramsey said in an email. “These are contributing structures in the Charlotte Court House Historic District and have windows broken out and have been neglected for many years.”

The structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

In 2017 the buildings were placed on Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places.

The Museum of Charlotte County currently owns the two buildings. Chairperson P.K. Pettus said the organization was taking several initiatives before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Then we had to pause everything,” Pettus said.

Pettus said in the fall of 2019 the Museum of Charlotte County sponsored a celebration of Charlotte County’s arts, crafts and rural heritage which was successful in gaining them exposure.

“That successful event gained us goodwill,” Pettus said. “We were saddened we could not build upon it and move forward.”

In February 2020, Pettus contacted Gov. Ralph Northam seeking help in preserving historic buildings and promoting community revitalization.

“The museum wishes to transfer the property to an individual or organization who will undertake a preservation tax credit rehabilitation,” the letter read.

Virginia is home to several old school buildings that have been redeveloped into places such as community centers and apartment complexes.

The closest redeveloped school building is located in Farmville.

Now known as the Lofts at Worsham School apartment complex, the former school building initially opened in 1927 as an all-white public school.