Weatherford Democrat

April 27, 2014

Staying on track


Weatherford Democrat

By BRIAN SMITH

Raymond George is a man on a mission: to finish Mount Pleasant Colored School.

The former Mount Pleasant student has been passionate about the renovations at the school, which closed in 1963. There has been a lot of work done in recent months, including windows installed and a new roof put on, but a lot remains to finish off the building.

“The commitment to finish the building was made and that’s what I’m going to do,” George said.

George and some of his classmates spoke at the Weatherford Noon Lions Club Wednesday, which was held at the school so members could see the renovations that had happened and what was still needed. George said he was happy knowing the school would be deeded over to the city Feb. 28, 2015 and become part of the city’s parks and recreation buildings, such as Chandor Gardens and Love Street Park. It is hoped the facility could be used as a community center, much like Harberger Hill in the northeast part of town, George said.

The city has agreed to take over ownership of the facility, which will ensure its place in history for a long time to come, George said. The city is planning to furnish green space and possibly connect Chandor Gardens, the park and the school building with walkways and the like.

To make the building more inviting to the public, George and the school committee are trying to locate items to make the facility look like the schoolhouse many generations attended. He said he is looking for old time desks to make the building look more authentic but has been unsuccessful.

An estimated $44,943 is needed to get the building “up to snuff.” That doesn’t include electrical, plumbing, HVAC, site work, paving or sidewalks. It does include restoring the existing wood floor, repairing the brick both inside and out, painting the interior side of the windows, insulation, installing lights in the hallway and classrooms, exterior lighting and powerwashing the outside among other things.

George said memorabilia from the school will be on display when completed.

Classmate Donald George said he is a proud graduate of the school, which he said produced a lot of outstanding educators over the years. George himself was an educator for 10 years. He said he has been trying to collect biographies of all the students who attended the school and has gotten quite a few so far.

Fellow classmate Evelyn Gratts said she has many fond memories of her time at MPCS, including wearing riding pants to stay warm in class during the cooler months and receiving ribbing from her classmates.

“I was always warm, no matter what they said,” Gratts said.

She also remembers the three-base baseball field where if you hit the ball too far, it was considered an out because there was no fence.

The public’s help is being solicited in helping to finish the project. Any donations of cash or services can be directed to Raymond George at 817-304-3519.