National Park Service Grant Supports Restoration of Rosenwald School in Keswick
KESWICK, Va. (WVIR) - The restoration of a historic Rosenwald School in Keswick is getting support from a National Park Service grant. It will be one of the few left in the state that almost anyone can see in person.
The St. John School is one of the last two Rosenwald schools remaining in the public domain, and after the renovation, it will be the only one open to the public in Albemarle County. The St. John Rosenwald School first opened its doors to African American students in 1922.
"It has so much meaning that this is something that happened and all that have benefited from being a student here at the school,” said Kelvin Hawkins, pastor of St. John Baptist Church.
Now, work is underway to bring that history to life.
Hawkins knows what preserving this building, and restoring the inside, really means. "It represents the community it has some valuable history here and not only for the saint john family or the community but just for the united states at all because of Julius Rosenwald and what he did."
Rebecca Kinney and her mother both attended the school. Kinney is the president of the St. John Family Life & Fitness Center nonprofit that worked to secure the federal funding after being denied in 2018.
"We did it again and this time we got approved for $75,000 so we are really excited,” said Kinney.
Money from the National Park Service is being used for Phase 2 of the construction to stabilize the foundation.
"Where we can educate the individuals regarding health issues we can have a place where we can assemble together a place whereby you know we can come and exercise and just share some health tips,” said Hawkins.