$65,000 sought for renovation of school, gatehouse

January 13, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Sykesville is asking the Maryland Historic Trust for $65,000 with which to renovate the gatehouse at Springfield Hospital Center and a one-room school where thousands of African-American children received their elementary education during the first half of the century.

The town submitted two applications to the Office of Preservation Services by the Jan. 1 deadline.

Municipal officials said they expect a decision within three months.

"We have a good chance of getting funding for the projects, especially the schoolhouse," Councilman Jonathan Herman said at the Town Council meeting Monday.

Sykesville is asking for $40,000 -- the maximum grant amount -- with which to restore the Schoolhouse Avenue building, one of two Carroll County schools for African-American students.

Councilman Eugene E. Johnson, whose siblings attended the school, provided much of the background for the application.

He called the school "an important part of black history."

He would like the century-old building to house an exhibit of school days memorabilia.

This may be the last chance to save a now-decrepit building "with strong family bones," he said.

"If we can't get the money, we will have no other choice but to destroy the building," the councilman said.

"We surely don't want that to happen. Once it's gone, we would never be able to put it back."

The town also applied for $25,000 with which to convert the gatehouse on Route 32 at the north end of town into a museum and meeting place. The building also would be made accessible to the handicapped.

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