H. Warner Committee to consider proposal
by Sarah Fay Campbell
A discussion of Newnan City Councilwoman Cynthia Jenkins' vision for the future community center at the historic Howard Warner School is on the agenda for Monday's meeting of the Howard Warner Committee.
The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in the Newnan City Council chambers, located at city hall on LaGrange Street.
Jenkins wants the historic — and deteriorating — school house on Savannah Street to become the city's new community center for the east side.
Jenkins is proposing that Coweta County help manage the building, once it is restored, and local organizations be contracted to provide programming for the center.
Newnan already has $1.5 million set aside for a community/recreation center in the area. The city could also apply for a Community Development Block Grant to go toward work on the building.
A city community center has to have a recreation component, and the intention is to tear down the 1955 addition and construct a gym in its place. Programs will take place in the 1935 section of the building.
Howard Warner was the city of Newnan's high school for black students.
After it was no longer used as a school, the Coweta County Board of Education used it for offices. After the instructional offices were moved to the new facilities on Werz Industrial Boulevard, the school system donated the building to the city in 2008.
Community members were surveyed on what uses they would like to see in the building.
A community center was the overwhelming favorite, but the city council instead chose a proposal from the Coweta Early Learning Initiative. That project never came to fruition, in part because of funding.
In spring of 2012, the city council approved the RAKoo School of Creative Learning and Artistic Expression, but that project also fizzled.
It's expected it will take $1.75 million to get the building up and running, including the demolition of the 1955 section. The city has maintained that no city money will go into a project operated by a private entity.
But if the building becomes the city's community center, city funds could be used.
Jenkins presented her idea to the city council-appointed Howard Warner Committee in October, and was asked to put together a written proposal with more details so the committee could discuss it more fully.