Mid-South News
7:29 am
Thu July 3, 2008

Community Efforts To Save Rosemark School Thwarted

Rosemark, TN – One of the Tennessee Preservation Trust's most endangered historic sites is scheduled for extinction. Nicole Erwin reports how the 1912 Rosemark schoolhouse will be demolished before August.

Tipton-Rosemark Alumni Mark Davidson says the identity of a small Shelby County community will soon no longer exist.

Monday was the last day the Tipton-Rosemark Academy board had given the community to raise the $200,000 needed to preserve the 96-year-old building for one more year. In just 30 days a small group of volunteers collected more than half.

Tipton-Rosemark Academy Chairman Jim Craig says renovating the building for re-use would cost around a million dollars. The board announced the decision to remove the building in May. Craig says the board gave the community several options to save the historic structure.

Craig says the school is not in a position to raise money for preservation after already borrowing $8 million and collecting another $800,000 in pledges for the expansion and improvements to the new high school, library, cafeteria and additional wing for the elementary school. Tennessee Preservation Trust Director Dan Brown says it is odd to see the board make a decision based on little funding when the alumni organization raised more than $100,000 in so little time.

Brown says the school board is comprised numerically with few alumni and few community members. The original Rosemark is a unique two story structure with high ceilings. It was a public school from 1912 to 1968 and became a private academy in 1970. Brown says the school made Tennessee's Top Ten list in hopes of conveying a message.

Despite the board's announcement to go through with the demolition Dan Brown and others in the community are still hopeful the board will reconsider. School board Chair Jim Brown will retire from the board in August, he says as of now he does not foresee the board looking back. As for the future of the soon to be vacant lot, well that is up to the board as well.