Old Fort Valley High School looks for new life

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The old Fort Valley High School is still standing, but it's been empty for years.
The old Fort Valley High School is still standing, but it's been empty for years.

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A developer wants to give new life to the old high school in Fort Valley.

The community hopes the project will make a historical building relevant again.

“Since 1974, I believe it’s been empty since that time,” said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kathie Lambert.

The Old Fort Valley High School is an empty piece of history that was once full of life.

“It holds a lot of memories for people that grew up here in Fort Valley,” said Lambert. “They remember when they played school here and they took the basketball state championship.”

Sports and academics–Lambert has heard nearly all of them

“Many of the memories were of a teacher that taught for many, many years, Ms. Bell,” said Lambert. “Walking across the street there used to be a little candy store across the street. And that was the biggest thing they could get detention for if they crossed over and it wasn’t time for them to be dismissed, they could get in trouble.”

The building had it’s fill of good times by the early 1970s, but now, it’s hungry for more.

“They would love to see something wonderful happen to this building,” said Lambert.

A developer is interested in turning the nearly 100 year old school into a 58 unit home for seniors.

“The developer plans to put in computer lab-type rooms so that people can come teach 55 and older folks how to use Facebook, email, excel, whatever, so we see that potential,” said Lambert.

It could also include ways to get outside.

“They’re talking about community gardens, and that’s important,” said Lambert. “If you have irrigation, you’ll have a great community garden and he’s offered that to our community as well.”

And could let seniors have the chance to stretch their minds.

“At the university, seniors 62 and above can go sit in on classes and take college credits,” said Lambert.

Creating a piece of history that becomes a piece of the future.

Lambert says the public meetings for input on what should happen with the building have gone well.

The developer says the project should cost less than $10 million after tax credits are applied, which even if they’re not awarded this year, Lambert says they’ll try again next year.