Harrington school renovation makes great progress | Local news | thebrunswicknews.com

By the way, Isadora Hunter loved the Harrington School on St. Simons Island. As a child, he attended classes at home in a one-room school until he was forced to return home by family life.

Patty Deveau, president of Friends of Harrington School, fondly remembers Hunter’s stories.

“He went to school in 1928 and went as long as he could. She wanted to move on, but her mother died, so she had to return home to take care of the other children, “Deveau said.

“Going to school and getting an education was very important to him and to others in the Gullah Geechee culture. For them, education meant freedom. ”

The school taught African American children in the 1950s until their disintegration. A group of activists abandoned the building and left it almost unattended. Until Simons wanted to form a coalition of African American heritage and want to preserve a rich history, including maintaining the school.

When he arrived, Hunter joined the cause. He worked with the organization and Friends of Harrington School to ensure that the building and the 13 acres around the site would be saved for future generations.

In collaboration with the group, St. It was acquired by the Simons Island Land Trust in 2004. Together, the organizations have raised money to renovate the school and plan to open it for public visits in the near future.

Hunter was an effort champion until his death on January 28th. Prior to his death, he paid a 1/16 interest in the Harrington School property, which led to the acquisition of the remaining interest in the land trust.

Ben Slade St. It was a move that touched the executive director of the Simons Island Land Trust.

“Ma’am. Hunter’s gift was one of the most inspiring events I’ve had in 15 years of trusting the land,” Slad said. “Making a direct gift from someone with limited resources is proof of the attractiveness of our view of the island, I hope.”

“The way the Harrington community has responded to the renovation of the school building is a great example of the basic efforts that are essential to maintaining St. Simons’ natural character and landscape.”

Slade said the African-American coalition had made great strides in restoring the school building and creating a public park on the property, and said the group would soon submit bids for the building.

“This will be St. Simons’ second park in more than 60 years, with Frederica North being the first, ”Slad said.

Great strides have already been made.

Over the past six years, organizations have seen the building stabilized and the exterior painted.

Deveau said the project is moving forward.

“This week they are adding a disabled access ramp in the back. Right now, we’re raising funds for HVAC and electrical systems, “said Deveau.

“We are looking for individual donations or protections. We now have limited access to the schoolhouse. When the interior is finished, we will open it regularly. We really look forward to seeing the tourists as well as the school children. We want to learn about the African American community. It’s really a story about freedom. “

Journalist Lindsey Adkison writes about business and other local issues. Contact him at ladkison@thebrunswicknews.com on Facebook or at 265-8320 ext. 346.