Officials discuss renovations of vacant Weed Elementary School in Sand Hills

Neighborhood advocate Javon Armstrong (center) speaks to local authorities during a tour of the vacant Weed Elementary School in the Sand Hills neighborhood.

The Sand Hills neighborhood off Walton Way could receive some investments after a meeting last month among a representative group of Augusta officials.

County commissioners, staff from Augusta State University and Historic Augusta Inc. met with Sand Hills advocate Javon Armstrong at the community center to discuss renovations and tour the now-shuttered Weed Elementary School.

“Everybody seems to take a serious interest in this neighborhood,” Commmissioner Joe Bowles said. “Hopefully this could be a catalyst.”

Armstrong said one of the most exciting possibilities to come out of the meeting was the potential to renovate the elementary school and make room for Augusta State’s literacy center. There was also discussion about building a dormitory or other housing for students.

Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta, said the school, built in 1936, was in good shape and “could be an easy conversion.”

“It needs a new use,” he said. “There’s nothing worse than a vacant building.”

Montgomery said his organization was willing to help in the renovation process.

Armstrong has been a vocal advocate for changing the worn face of his childhood neighborhood. The chance to share that vision with people who could help further the neighborhood was “a great thing,” he said.

“People are actually listening,” Armstrong said. “Now we have groups who believe the same thing.”

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