Officials discuss renovations of vacant Weed Elementary School in Sand Hills

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

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

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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kiwiinamerica 10/04/11 - 11:07 am
The main problem with the

The main problem with the neighborhood is its dysfunctional inhabitants. Change has to come from within.

Go ahead and re-open Weed Elementary. It won't change a thing. "Wife-Saver" got the heck out of there because bullets were flying around and going through their windows. Result? One more empty building.

Sand Hills will prosper and the empty Wife-Saver will come to life again when the gangsta-wannabees in the 'hood depart.

shenyse86 10/04/11 - 03:37 pm
Kiwi...I agree that change

Kiwi...I agree that change has to come from the inside; however, there also has to be help from the outside to have that change take root. Mr. Armstrong has been working for years to have the same changes happen in his neighborhood that are currently happening in Harrisburg and will soon happen in the Laney Walker district... Sometime it just takes new blood to get the ball rolling.

Dipshot 10/04/11 - 04:20 pm
Gotta love the name Weed

Gotta love the name Weed Elementary. I wonder is the address is 420?

Javon Armstrong
Javon Armstrong 10/04/11 - 06:08 pm
Thank you for the supportive

Thank you for the supportive well as the critical. Sustainability from within is what we're all about in Sand Hills. Give the young some sense of hope, residents a employment where they live. Wanna-be ganstas (seriously, can we ge beyond the hood references) and their ilk only want a better life. Can we promote our Green is Good Initiative featuring Urban Farming or Biodiesel Transportation? Partnerships between communities and their city university can make that happen. More creative options will bring benefits to residents and students. Check out Emory's Clifton Partnership to see the potential. It's not rocket science, but we all have to be on the same page. And while the school was named for Edwin Weed, first Rector for Good Shepherd Episcopal, the irony is palpable. And the address is actually 2403 Mt. Auburn. However, there has been talk of a fundraiser featuring Snoop and Willie Nelson.

countyman 10/04/11 - 08:30 pm
It won't be long due to the

It won't be long due to the location of Sand Hills. It's right next to Augusta State University, Summerville, Country Club Hills, Forest Hills, and the Country Club..

Bringing ASU students and faculty into the neighborhood is a excellent idea.. The housing, academic buildings, etc all sound good too me.

The entire Sand Hills neighborhood isn't in disrepair, only portions of the area.

BevBoudreaux 10/04/11 - 11:10 pm
The School is seriously

The School is seriously called "Weed"? Well I say make the most out of that. Maybe MCG could move the school of pharmacy there. .

Riverman1 10/05/11 - 06:39 am
How long have I been saying

How long have I been saying ASU (with lots of state money) could help the city greatly by branching out and hopscotching over the city area? Glad to see them in the conversation.

Augustan 10/05/11 - 09:22 am
Bad element won't leave until

Bad element won't leave until they get forced out due to responsible property ownership in the area, ie people taking pride in the neighborhood.

Keep up the great work Javon! Sand Hills reminds me of Cabbagetown in Atlanta, now thriving. Narrow streets, unique architecture, central location. There's even a little business district with lots of potential. This is a great first step. Keep Sand Hills in the news and on the radar.

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