WENDELL, N.C. (WNCN) — Two million dollars worth of federal funding is heading toward Wendell, and it’ll all be focused on a new community center in the town after the former Carver School is renovated.
It’s all thanks to that federal funding and community partnerships including one local church.
“We have members who now are in their upper 90s, early 100s who actually taught at this school,” Asa Bell Jr., the pastor at Peace Grove Baptist Church, said.
Leaders with the church joined Congresswoman Deborah Ross and a handful of community members on Friday to officially kick off the renovation announcement, but it all started in 2007 when the church bought the old property.
Since then, members have been waiting to breathe new life into the building.
“What they remember is a time when this building in this community was vibrant, they remember a time when the life blood of the community flowed through carver,” Bell said.
The former school closed in the late 1990s, but soon it’ll house a green room, a community center, classrooms, and resources for the entire community.
Congresswoman Ross says she worked hard to get this federal funding for the community to honor the site that once served segregated Black students.
“We don’t talk enough about how to repair the wounds of segregation, and this is a way to do it,” Ross said.
Now with generations of people waiting for the doors to eventually reopen, church members say they’re eager to make new memories in the historic spot.
“I’ve had members say, I just want to live to see it, I just want to live to see it,” Bell said.
There’s no official timeline on the project, but one architect involved said the doors could reopen sometime in 2024.