Joyce Perdue-Smith has been spearheading the effort to save the former Fairview Colored School in Cave Spring. She’s working with other foundation members to form a committee to explore what to do with the building and land now in their possession.
The foundation finally reached its $25,000 fundraising goal in August 2012, and purchased the school building along with 4 acres of property surrounding the structure.
Smith said a number of options are being examined — such as turning the building into a support structure for youth activities or using it and the campus to open a creative arts camp like the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C.
“There are several schools around Georgia that have been successfully readapted for community centers, government centers and camp sites,” Smith said. “But we’re looking at ideas that are outside the box as well.”
Some other ideas being considered for the future of the school are to bring a Boys & Girls Club location to the Cave Spring area, a medium-scale fine dining restaurant and even a camp for troubled teens.
The committee will include members from the Fairview-E.S. Brown Foundation and interested supporters from around the state. Smith said she hopes to bring in Cave Spring community leadership and officials from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Trust for Historic Places.
“The plans for what we want to do with the site have widened, and I’m hoping that the group we’re going to put together will be able to cull down the list of ideas to something more manageable,” said Smith.
She also said that, with plans for the future of the school laid out, it will allow the foundation to try for grant funding to help with the restoration process.
Her greatest hope is that more Floyd County residents will pitch in to help. First the building — which over the years has been beaten down by weather and time — needs to be stabilized.
The Fairview-E.S. Brown School is thought to be one of the thousands built in the south through a rural black school-building program of the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. Researchers are still searching for the definitive proof.
The three-room, $4,500 school building was constructed in 1924 with the help of matching funds from Floyd County Schools. The school was open from the mid-1920s through the late 1960s, until Floyd County opened a new high school in Cave Spring.
Those interested in donating to help the Fairview-E.S. Brown Foundation can visit www.fairviewbrown.org or mail checks to The Fairview School, 3 Central Plaza, Box 147, Rome, GA 30161.