An effort to renovate an historic Johnson City school building is nearing completion.
Langston High School was Johnson City’s first African American public high school. It was established in 1893, before closing its doors in 1965 with the end of segregation.
Now, it is being transformed into a multicultural art and education center.
“We really wanted to preserve the history of the Langston High School,” said Randy Trivette, Director of Facilities Management for the city of Johnson City, “especially as it is part of our downtown and the renovations and the improvements that are going on downtown.”
The renovations cost around $2.3 million and the new building will include arts and crafts programs, computer classes and feature a recording studio.
“We think it will help a lot of kids in the neighborhood that will have a place to go after school or on the weekends to come in and be able to have some classes and learn how to do a lot of things they may enjoy in life,” said Trivette.
The school’s former gymnasium is also being converted into a multipurpose center, which will be able to host large public gatherings and performing arts shows.
The school’s entrance will also be transformed, but preserve its historic arch.
“There will be sidewalks that will connect the archway to the building,” said Trivette, “along with a flag pole and the sign out front that will all tie in together with the fencing to make it look like part of the facility and it will always stand here today to be a landmark of the date of Langston High School.”
The hallways and lobby will also have room to display memorabilia from Langston High School’s past.
“We’re moving along pretty good,” said jobs superintendent, Allan Dean.
While the building will retain many of its exterior features, including its exterior brick walls, gymnasium floor, and wood roof decking, nearly everything else on the inside will be completely new.
“We got power coming into the building,” said Dean, “we got finishes going on the wall, painting and floor finishes will be here before long.”
Trivette said if the weather holds out, construction on the former school is expected to be completed by mid-July of this year.
The former Langston High School served as a maintenance center for the Johnson City school system before renovations began.