Local News

Battle over price of historic Black elementary school site continues in Moore County

Posted February 11, 2021 5:22 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2021 9:55 a.m. EST

— There is a battle over property in Southern Pines where a segregated Black high school once stood.

In 1924, the Black residents in west Southern Pines built a high school for children in their segregated community.

"It was based on money they raised -- $6,000 -- and property they had to provide, four acres, to actually have their own school," said Vincent Gordon, with Southern Pines Land & Housing Trust.

Construction began on a new school down the road in April 2019, and the old property has been idle ever since.

Now, a local group wants to buy the property and build a world-class African-American museum and cultural center, but they said local school leaders want too much money.

"It'll also be an art gallery but it'll also be ethnic foods," described project manager Fenton Wilkinson. "It'll be a place where there will be entrepreneurial education for residents of the community."

Gordon said his organization and the school board can't come up with a price that is fair market value for the property.

"We have done an appraisal, which is $200,000. The school board's appraisal is at $630,000," he said.

"The unfortunate aspect is that our county commissioners have charged us with receiving top-dollar for the sale of all four of our recently surplus properties, and in doing so, means we must seek that appraised price," said Moore County Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Carter.

A second appraisal from the Board of Education should be completed sometime in March.

It's hoped at that point the two sides can get together.

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