The slice of earth that once held an historic Civil War fort and an all-black high school is finally coming alive in Limestone County.
Workers are demolishing part of the old Trinity School property off Brownsferry Street in Athens — saving portions of it for a museum and community room — and erecting a fence to protect the construction site.
After four years of work, the Athens Limestone Community Association’s Fort Henderson/Trinity School Project is visibly underway.
“It’s moving right along,” said ALCA board member Masheldia Green. “Now that we have equipment up there and something is going on, they will see it is really going to come to pass.”
ALCA board member Richard Martin is also excited.
“We’re on the road,” he said, while offering some details of the work now underway at the school building that fronts Brownsferry.
“We started last Tuesday taking all of the scrap iron out of buildings and putting up a fence around the construction site,” Martin said. “Then, we started tearing a portion of it down.”
The middle section of the building will be demolished, he said. The band room will be converted to a museum about Limestone County history from antebellum times through the Trinity School years. The front section that once held the library and classrooms, and which faces Brownsferry, will become a community room, Martin said. Plans are to preserve a section of Fort Henderson, clean and beautify the area, and rebuild a portion of the fort with a moat.
City Council action
On Monday night, Athens City Council members appointed Community Consultants Inc. as the grant administrator for the project. They will ensure that the $250,000 grant for the work will be properly spent. The ALCA will match 10 percent or $25,000, Green said.
Now that work is underway, Martin and Green hope former students, their descendants and anyone touched by Trinity School will donate to the project.
“We’re still in need some more money,” Martin said. “Anything would be appreciated.”
The association is seeking other grants to do the band room, which is not covered under the ($250,000) grant, Martin said. . But the ALCA needs money now to get the band room closed up so it will not further deteriorate, he said.
“A lot of things are not covered by the grant,” Green said. “It does not cover engineering and architectural costs, the cost of cleanup, grant-writer fees and utilities that will be needed once the building is up.”