A Step Closer

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

The Simms School could soon become a place of art, entertainment and education.

"We're really trying to preserve the heritage and historical significance of the Lucy F. Simms School and use the facilities, the spaces to address the needs of the community," said Michael Wong, Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

It has been a long time since any money was put into the school, or the community for that matter. But more than $7 million could be invested and could result in a state of the art facility.

"We want to do some job training, house the Boys and Girls Club, a museum about Simms, and much more," added Wong.

These things don't come cheap, especially in a building built back in the 1930's. Everything will be returned to its original state. By making it historically correct, money may be available.

"We have through the entire process tried to minimize the support from the city," said Wong. "That's why we're looking at grants and different types of funding sources to kind of layer and partner and add to it."

Even with the grants, the city will have to pitch in about $4 million. The upkeep could run more than $250,000 a year.

Wong will update council on the progress in November. He hopes to have an answer on the funding then.

The Boys and Girls Club has donated $1.5 million to the project.


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