Demolition began on the first floor in August along with work to scrape walls and install water and electric lines. The school had been used as a maintenance facility for Johnson City Schools for many years and requires extensive rehab before it can be used.
At the project’s completion, the school’s gymnasium and shop will be transformed into a multicultural, multigenerational education center focused on STEM education and mentorship programs. The space will also be used for special events, such as performances and professional networking socials, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds.
“For months, we’ve been raising money for renovations to the Langston High School building. We’ve been talking about what the space will be used for and how it will benefit future generations,” said Mike Young, board chairman of Langston Education and Arts Development (LEAD), the grassroots organization that’s spearheading the project. “It’s exciting to see work underway on the project. We’re excited by the possibilities this project offers and how it will shape our community for years to come.”The total project cost is $2.3 million. The City of Johnson City has allocated $1.8 million in public funds for the project. LEAD is working to raise the remaining $500,000 needed to completely fund the renovation. Of that, more than $325,000 has already been secured as grants, individual contributions and corporate donations from Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union and General Shale.
Langston served the African-American community in Johnson City from 1893 until 1965 when the school closed following desegregation.
LEAD hopes to raise the remaining $175,000 by the year’s end. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to the campaign, please visit www.leadlhs.org.