Looking to the Future, Preserving the Past: Garland Celebrates Re-Opening of Historic School Building

The city of Garland says it's looking to the future by preserving a piece of the past. 

Black students in Garland attended classes in makeshift schools starting in the 1920s, but it wasn't until 1948 that they had a permanent high school to attend (prior to the school's opening, those who attended high school were bused to Dallas).

George Washington Carver High School remained open until 1970, when Garland ISD became fully integrated.

Since then, the city has used what remains of the building for a variety of purposes.

But as it aged over the years, city leaders began to discuss ways they could breathe new life into it. 

"There's history in these walls," Mayor Scott LeMay said.

After consulting with many of the students who attended Carver -- and securing roughly $600,000 in Community Block Development Grants -- the city approved a $900,000 makeover for the building, which is now home to the city's senior center.

The new Carver Center has modern meeting rooms equipped with 21st century technology, a new kitchen, new bathrooms, new windows -- but the highlight is a wall that tells the history of the school.

"We call Carver a living legacy," said Chester Johnson, a Carver alum and vice president of Carver Alumni Program & Services, Inc. "This gives us an opportunity to present our history. And our history will remain a part of the city and the community."

Wednesday, dozens packed the center to celebrate its grand re-opening, many of them Carver alumni. 

They said they're pleased the school they grew up in is now a space the entire community can enjoy.

"It brings back a lot of memories," Johnson said. "It means so much that we can see the old pictures and have those memories."

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