'Amazing example of community-driven restoration project'“An amazing example of a community-driven restoration project.” Those words were used last week by Traci Clark of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation when the Mary Ray Schoolhouse restoration project in the small Raymond community on Highway 16 East received two statewide historic preservation awards.
This project is indeed an amazing story of how a group of former students of the school, which was built in 1909, came together in 2007, determined to save the once community landmark and bring the building back to life as a community center.
These students had a strong determination to restore the building to its original condition and went to work raising money and getting other volunteers to help. In 2009, the school building was placed on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Places in Peril list. Now, three years later, because of these former students’ efforts, the Mary Ray Schoolhouse is alive and well. The restoration efforts have received the Georgia Trust’s Chairman’s Award, plus one of four awards given statewide for Excellence in Restoration.
With the awards those responsible for this community project also reaped grand words of praise:
Indeed, in a community —large or small — determined, dedicated people can make good things happen. These former Mary Ray Schoolhouse students were determined and dedicated. They accomplished their vision and their goal, and a small-town community treasure has been saved.