MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - On Friday, members of the Snowden community will take one last walk through the Long Point Road Schoolhouse before it moves to a new site.
The walkthrough is the "Grand Finale" of the 1900's Long Point Road Schoolhouse. The school was attended by African American students who lived in the Snowden community dating back to the 1900s.
"We're going to get that school today and walk through finally and get it relocated to this site for a culture center, which we know will be a positive for generations to come so we can have something here that was ultimately a part of the community many years ago," John Wright, President of the African American Settlement Historic Commission, said. "That's one thing that this whole project, in essence, is all about – preserving history and bringing it back."
Members of the Snowden community fought to have the building preserved.
"My mother went to that school," Snowden Community Civic Association President Freddie Jenkins said. "She was born in 1925 and she attended the school."
Jenkins said the school served students through the seventh grade. He says he has a personal connection to preserving the building.
"It's really good that we're going to make this move because it will remind me of my mother and her quest for education," he said.
After negotiating with the developer who bought the land where the schoolhouse sits, they determined the schoolhouse will move about one mile away to the Snowden Community Center.
The plan is to turn the one-room schoolhouse into a cultural center.
"Ultimately a community center is a place we can bring all artifacts and old stories to one location," Wright said. "And what we hoped that would do is bring the young generation in so they can be more mindful of what our history is."
The original plan would have called for the schoolhouse to be moved within 60 days, but since that time, Jenkins said the developer came back and said he would like the school to be preserved. He offered to give the group time to move it and is contributing to that move as well, Jenkins said.
Wright said they can't give the developer enough kudos.
"He saw what we saw as a vision to move the school," Wright said. "From the very beginning, the developer said he would do everything he could to try and save the school.
"We are in the process of getting bids for the move of the school and the renovation and preservation," Jenkins said.
The estimated cost to move the structure is about $28,000. It could take approximately $200,000 beyond that to complete a renovation, with the idea of returning the building to the way it looked when it was a functioning school.
On Saturday, the association plans a fundraising event that includes a walk-a-thon, a basketball tournament and a baseball rally.
"This was our way, as a youth department, to say we're going to have a great event to celebrate the end of the school year but we also know we want to have our Long Point Road School to come to our location for preservation," SCCA Youth Director Adriane Smalls-Owens said. "Also to have educational tutorials. What a better way than to make this event a fundraiser so we can also support the cause of bringing the schoolhouse to the property."
The funds raised for the registrations and tournaments and vendor registrations and donations will all go toward bringing the schoolhouse here and its preservation, she said.
"It's very important for our youth to understand the challenges that African Americans have faced educationally," she said. "Bringing this school to the location to preserve it and restore it brings even more validity to some of the struggles and some of the restraints on education that African Americans in that time period were not able to have."
The association plans to start a website and is accepting donations through SouthTrust Bank.