Debate over Hayden School options continues

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2007

FRANKLIN—For years, a group of citizens has been trying to revive the old Hayden School building.

The Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority requested citizens’ input in August 2006 about a renovation and for what type of facility they preferred the structure should be used.

Representatives from area agencies and the community who made up a task force, along with a developer of Winston-Salem, N.C., named Landmark, presented a plan that month during a special public meeting of the FRHA board.

The plan was to renovate the building, which has been deeded to the city for about 20 years, for 30 one- and two-bedroom apartments for senior citizens; housing for the Head Start (early childhood education) program, operated by STOP organization; a meeting place for adult education; a townhouse community to be developed adjacent to the structure; an upgrade to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center that would include a wing for the senior citizens to meet; and the creation of a golf program.

Residents weren’t keen on the building, named for educational pioneer Della I. Hayden, being used for apartments, preferring other options such as a cultural or recreational center, or a place for vocational education. At the time, the city was also focusing on its goal to increase homeownership opportunities.

As a result, other opportunities were pursued.

A proposal from the Hayden Group, made up of Clarence Baker, Dr. Alvin Harris, Thomas Dawes and Senior Services, has been made to the FRHA board, however a recommendation still has to be made, and the plan forwarded with that recommendation to Council.

The plan calls for the building to house the STOP organization; an office for Cee-Breeze, a business owned by Clarence Baker; a museum in memory of Della Hayden; an office for Dawes Management; 20 senior housing units; Senior Services’ office; and an adult day care. In addition, some community use is anticipated.

The board is expected to discuss the proposal at its next meeting, which will be Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers.