By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
More than 100 people attended an open house event for the Fulton Grammar School yesterday — more than 70 years after the building was built and 10 years after it was scheduled to be demolished.
The event was held in honor of the numerous donors who helped keep the building standing and contributed to massive renovation efforts during the past six years. Those who attended were invited to tour the building, which included several recently-restored classrooms complete with books, chalkboards and desks, as well as the auditorium area, which featured new curtains, sound equipment, and backstage dressing room areas.
According to Judge Sharion Aycock, who led the renovation efforts, the crowd proved all the effort worthwhile.
“I’m excited. We have a great turnout — lots and lots of people — and its a beautiful day,” she said. “I think everybody has been pleased with the renovations. We’ve had a lot of very positive comments.”
IAHS drama teacher Victoria Black, also instrumental in restoring the grammar school, has utilized the building’s auditorium for the past several years and was happy to see it finally in tip-top shape.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s all been very wonderful,” Blake said, adding that students with a a passion for drama could not have a better environment in which to stoke their interest. “Believe me, these efforts are making a big difference. Many, many young people will reap the benefits for years to come.”
Originally, the building was going to be demolished after the opening of Itawamba Attendance Center in 1999.
In September 2001, the school was designated as a Mississippi landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, enabling those interested in preserving the building to secure grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Community Heritage Preservation Program. This money was matched through the donations, labor and services of numerous individuals, civic groups, local businesses and the city of Fulton.
Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.