Local News

School's Graduates Breathe Life Into Crumbling Building

Posted September 1, 2000

— Bricks and mortar usually make up a building, but people bring buildings to life. An historic school in Wake Forest is falling apart, but a group of graduates is determined to breathe life into the dilapadated building.

Boarded-up buildings, padlocks and peeling paint are clear reminders that the old DuBois school has been neglected for nearly a decade.

"This is more than just a school, it's our heritage. It's our life. It's our everything, really," says graduate Sheldon Massenburg.

Built in 1922, the school was originally called the Wake Forest Colored School. Generations of African-Americans were educated here. The school permanently closed in 1989, but two years ago, the DuBois Alumni Association bought the property.

They hope to turn the worn-out buildings into a community center.

"I feel like it's my opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me," says Bettie Murchison, a DuBois graduate.

"Once you've been a part of a school, no matter where you go in the world, it's always home to you," Massenburg says.

The group has already renovated the gymnasium. They hope the surrounding neighborhood will benefit from the project.

"If you can't get in the community a desire and an appetite for a better living situation, then this won't be anything," says graduate William Mangum.

The old campus has a total of eight buildings, and the association hopes to renovate all of them in the next three to five years.

The DuBois Center already offers G.E.D. classes, and there are plans to start a multi-cultural gospel group. Long-range plans include a senior center and various childrens' programs.

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