Many from the Winchester community believe that the renovation and expansion of the historic Douglas School on North Kent Street, which played an important role in the Black community, is long overdue. *
Vacant in recent years, the school building educated Black students in the area until 1966, when Winchester Public Schools became integrated. The building is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
Part of the building will be devoted to a museum about the history of Douglas School. Winchester Public Schools officials said that the school’s history will be integrated into the curriculum and that students will take annual field trips there once the project is finished. Winchester City Schools also plans to relocate its administrative offices once the $10.3 million project is completed in August 2022.
Shockey is renovating and repurposing the 1927 and 1941 portions of the building, removing newer additions built in 1951 and 1961, and constructing a new structure for office space. The new ops building is a pre-engineered metal building, allowing for a clearspan interior and more flexibility for interior layout.
Built in 1927 as a “separate but equal” school for African American students, regional historians say it may have been named for Frederick Douglass, despite the spelling difference.
* Source: Winchester Star
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