Hickman offers update on Calfee Community and Cultural project

The Calfee Community and Cultural Center Board of Directors would like to update citizens of the project’s activities the last couple of months. Like most, the Covid19 pandemic has had an effect on the momentum and progress that we enjoyed previously. However, there is still forward movement as illustrated by the  following highlights.

A sign has been erected to identify and let people know the name and location of the new center. The sign was created Calfee signby Caudell Signs and the local VFW Post 1184 generously paid for the cost of the sign. Town Council member Jamie Radcliffe contributed and constructed the materials for the sign. In a related development, the Town of Pulaski now has a “Quiet” or clean title to the Calfee property, no one else has a legal claim to the property as ownership had passed through several hands down through the years. This happened through the diligent and pro bono work of local attorney and newly elected Pulaski Town Council member Michael Reis. All examples of how the community has embraced the project!

Currently, the CCCC has been involved in the Community Foundation of the NRV’s GiveLocal NRV campaign. Contributions can be made the old fashioned way by sending checks to the CCCC, PO Box 62, Pulaski VA 24301. Online contributions can be made by credit card at www.mightycause.com/organization/Calfee-Community-And-Cultural-Center. We set a modest goal of $10,000.

The monies raised will go towards advancing the CCCC’s mission. For instance we plan to have a museum and will hire a consultant to help the history committee draft a museum plan for the board; such a plan will help us secure other grants. In addition, these contributions will show other funders that the local community is invested in this project and they can serve as a match for other grants. Thus we have created a win-win strategy. Please consider donating, your gift can magnify the project!

A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) planning grant through the Town of Pulaski has also allowed us to take two very important steps to bring the project closer to reality. First, in a competitive process, the local Wide Angle Strategies firm was contracted to do behind the scenes, but important strategic work. The firm will help with the financial planning of the CCCC and the procurement of applicable grants to that will help bring the project to a physical existence and a smooth operation. Also just as important and through a competitive process, the Thompson and Litton architecture and engineering firm was contracted to create the architectural design of the building and grounds. T&L will meet with representatives of the Town of Pulaski, the CCCC Board, and members of the Pulaski Child Care Community to decide on and to finalize details for the center.

Part of the CCCC will become a child care center that will provide child care opportunities for parents of Pulaski with care space for 78 to 99 children. This child care portion of the CCCC will largely be under the supervision and direction of the YMCA of Pulaski County Child Development Program. Outgoing CEO at the YMCA, Allison Hunter, was part of the original planning for the repurposing of the former Calfee Training School. The YMCA’s new CEO Jessie Woods has already come on board and has been involved in the decision making.

The CCCC will also house a museum to commemorate the legacy of the Calfee School by remembering and recognizing the fine educators and students who taught and went to school there. The heritage of these persons will be interwoven in the museum and throughout the Calfee building and its grounds.

The CCCC also hopes to have a commercial kitchen available for public use and an event center that can be rented and used by the public for celebration events and festivities much like the ever popular train station. If you have ever tried to secure Pulaski’s Historic Train Station for an event then you understand the popularity and sometimes the difficulty of renting that venue. The CCCC will provide another option for interested parties.

Finally, the CCCC Board’s plans also calls for the design of meeting and conference spaces in the building. Organizations can hold meetings here and rental office spaces are also in the design and business plan for the center. A learning lab will complete the multifarious components that the CCCC will offer. It is a trend across the country to take old buildings and to resurrect them and to repurpose them ala’ our aforementioned train station; the new CCCC will truly be an asset for Pulaski.

Calfee Community & Cultural Center Background

The CCCC initiative to revitalize a historic African American school in Pulaski, Virginia. A group of local citizens, including Calfee Training School alumni and their families, have partnered with the Town of Pulaski, the YMCA of Pulaski County, and the Pulaski County Department of Social Services to honor the school’s rich history by revitalizing the building as a multi-use community and cultural center.

The school, located at One Magnox Drive in downtown Pulaski, VA, was constructed in 1939 after the first Calfee Training School was destroyed by fire. The building is a Public Works Administration project repurposed several times since the school closed in 1966. For more information, or to get involved, visit the Calfee Training School Project website at calfeetrainingschoolproject.org and follow @CalfeeTrainingSchoolProject on Facebook.

Top photo: Calfee Community & Cultural Center Board President Mickey Hickman

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