The citizens of Cherokee County now have the opportunity to rehabilitate the Canton Grammar School. This important historic building was first built in 1914. This building has proudly served the citizens of Cherokee for over 90 years.
On behalf of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, one of America's leading preservation organizations, I would like to encourage the Cherokee County Board of Education to rehabilitate the Canton Grammar School. Demolishing this sound and beautiful building would be a costly error, one that cannot be reversed once it is gone.
During these economic times, funding can be a deterrent to preservation efforts. Fortunately, stimulus money has been allocated for the purpose of rehabilitation and renovation of historic schools. A total of $8.8 billion in state stabilization funding may be used for modernization, renovation or repair of public school facilities. Also, the government has allotted $1.4 billion in 2009 and $1.4 billion in 2010 for qualified zone academy bonds, which could be another source of funding for community centered schools. The Georgia Department of Education can help in the process for qualifying for stimulus funding.
We do not advocate the restoration of the Canton Grammar School as a dusty museum. We believe it can be a high-tech, energy efficient place for contemporary learning. One option is to do the ordinary thing - tear down this building and build another characterless building; we believe the citizens of Canton deserve something more special, something more creative and inspiring. The rehabilitation of the Canton Grammar School as a high-tech, state-of-the-art facility, preferably with green, sustainable building features, would express the excellence that we are all trying to inspire in our students.
Because of the good structural condition of the Canton Grammar School, we believe a rehabilitation could be performed for the same or less costs as demolition and new construction.
To demolish this old building and haul it away to the landfill would lay to waste the precious heart pine lumber, the clay in the historic bricks and many other resources, which were committed to the service of this building. The energy embodied in this historic building is highly significant.
I ask you to rehabilitate the Canton Grammar School. By doing so, you will pay homage to our past, show honor to our environment and provide hope for our future.