Committee reconvenes to decide former school's fate

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Members of the Howard Warner Committee stand outside the old school on Savannah Street in Newnan when they were first beginning work in October 2011 to find a project for an adaptive reuse of the historic building. From left are committee members Minnie Robinson, LeRoy Hill, Rebecca Gibson and Charles Bowen.

By ALEX MCRAE
alex@newnan.com
The volunteer citizen committee charged with determining the best use for the old Howard Warner School building on Newnan’s Savannah Street is back in business after a group chosen last April to develop the property abandoned the effort.
At Monday’s meeting of the committee, it was decided that the committee would again seek input from the local community about potential uses for the property. The Howard Warner Committee, appointed by Newnan City Council, first met in October 2011 as it worked to recommend a project for reuse of the historic school building.
The committee on Monday passed a resolution saying it would to go back to the community to see if there are any new suggestions for the use of the Howard Warner facility and to notify the finalists who had previously made presentations before the committee of the new use search.
The Warner committee will meet again March 25 at 1 p.m. at the city council chambers at Newnan City Hall to review the suggestions received.
Committee members decided that those proposing uses for the facility notify the committee by Friday, March 22. Those wishing to present suggestions may do so by completing a form now being developed for that purpose. The form is expected to be available Friday.

The form may be accessed for downloading or printing by going to www.ci.newnan.ga.us and clicking on the “newsroom” button at the bottom of the homepage. Paper copies or an e-mailed form can be obtained by either calling Newnan Planning and Zoning Director Tracy Dunnavant at 678-673-5481 or by e-mailing her at tdunnavant@cityofnewnan.org .

Before the Coweta County and City of Newnan schools were integrated around 1969, the Howard Warner School — built in 1935 — served as the city of Newnan’s African-American high school.

It closed in 1969 and was used beginning in the 1970s as the central administrative office for the Coweta County Board of Education.

When the school board moved its administrative offices to the current Jackson Street location, the Howard Warner building became the school system’s curriculum office.

After the school board moved all remaining curriculum offices from Howard Warner to its present location on Werz Industrial Boulevard, the school board donated the facility to the city of Newnan.

Last spring the committee recommended the Newnan City Council adopt a project for the school developed by a group led by Shellie Hardee that would develop the property as the RAKoo School of Creative Learning & Artistic Expression. RAKoo is an organization headed by Hardee.

The effort to preserve and reopen the Howard Warner School has been on hold following word that Shellie Hardee had left town and would not be able to continue the work.

There are currently no public funds earmarked for the project and potential sources of revenue to support any proposals should be included in the proposals.



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