Investing in the future of the North Alexander School since 1990.
In February 1990, a group of citizens saw potential in the main 1897 School building and realized that the building's fate would be sealed if nothing happened. A public meeting was held at the Wilkes County Courthouse to address the issue. As a result, the Board of Education decided to fund emergency roof repairs.
The North Alexander School Committee (later the North Alexander School Association) was organized and in March 1991, a $1500 grant was received from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a feasibility study. A Needs Assessment Committee worked with architect Lane Greene and the University of Georgia Institute of Community and Area Development to organize a restoration plan and evaluate possible uses for the School building. Another grant was received in 1992 from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with local matches from the Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation and private donors. The structure was stabilized and the roof eventually replaced. Work on various projects continued, but overall progress was limited and slow because of cost, the challenging task, and uncertainty about viable uses for the building. However, in 2007 the first floor windows were renovated at a cost of approximately $40,000 and the front steps were replaced in 2008 at a cost of approximately $15,000.
Renewed efforts commenced in 2010 and in March, 2012 a Preservation Plan was completed in conjunction with Stacie Monroe of re:FORM Architects, an Atlanta, Georgia firm specializing in historic preservation. The Plan consists of two documents: The first includes architectural photography, measured drawings and information about the School. The second includes an Architectural Description, a Structural Engineer's Report, Recommendations for Treatment, and associated cost estimates. A Feasibility Study was conducted in 2013 by Erin Murphy of GT Hill Planners in Atlanta. Based on those efforts, NASA committed to rehabilitate the School as a regional education and cultural center and is now raising funds and undertaking further studies and plans. Throughout this process a number of building-related projects were completed.
In 2013 a $22,700 matching grant was received from the Georgia Historic Preservation Division through the City of Washington. As a result, all the windows throughout the building were restored in accordance with national and state preservation standards. In 2014 NASA received a $3,000 grant from the Garden Clubs of Georgia and retained Caroline C. Leslie with Chevans Associates in Atlanta to develop a master landscaping plan for the entire school campus site. In late 2014 NASA retained re:FORM Architects to develop a detailed building specification plan for the main School building.
Sources: The History of Wilkes County, Robert M. Willingham, Jr., Wilkes Publishing Company, 2002 and interviews with local residents and former students of the North Alexander School.