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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Gwinnett County and the City of Lawrenceville Collaborate on Downtown Civic Space
Relocated Library and Preservation of Original Historic Hooper-Renwick School Combine For Enhanced Learning and Cultural Facility in the County Seat
LAWRENCEVILLE (GWINNETT/METRO ATLANTA) GA – September 28, 2017
Gwinnett County and City of Lawrenceville officials have begun formal discussions for a new urban facility that will relocate the Lawrenceville Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library to a site where the city plans to preserve of one of its most historically significant sites, the African-American Hooper-Renwick School. The historic building, owned by the City of Lawrenceville, is located in a strategic part of its Downtown. This development marks the first step in a multi-phased project to expand Lawrenceville’s Downtown and infuse Gwinnett’s core with an urban residential, retail, and cultural focus in a mixed-use environment.
“The County is very pleased to accept the City’s offer of a site for a new Lawrenceville branch library within its exciting Downtown development,” said Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash. “It is especially meaningful that the library will be adjacent to the historic Hooper-Renwick School building which has great significance for the African-American community and for the story of Gwinnett. The City and the County aim to pay tribute to history while providing learning opportunities for the future. We look forward to working with the City to weave these shared objectives together into an experience that touches and enriches all who visit.”
Hooper-Renwick School was Gwinnett’s original school for the African-American community prior to integration in the late 1960s. In efforts to learn more about the facility’s history and explore options for redevelopment and use of the space, the City of Lawrenceville appointed a 12-member legacy preservation committee that provided insight and a framework on which to build this strategy for a combined civic space.
“Hooper-Renwick is a significant part of both the City and County’s history,” added City of Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson. “Thanks to the leadership of Lawrenceville’s Hooper-Renwick Legacy Preservation Committee (HRLPC) and City staff, we now have a deeper understanding of the profound impact this facility has had on the African-American community – it’s past, present and future.”
Theresa Bailey, Chairperson of the HRLPC, shared, “Today, we, the Hooper Renwick Preservation Committee, having met at the table of compromise in working to preserve the building’s original 12-room structure, are proud to declare before God Almighty that the demolition ball, once assigned to the dismantling of our beloved Hooper-Renwick High School, by its own destructive forces has been demolished!"
Hooper-Renwick school was originally built in the 1940’s and expanded its facilities until 1968. Gwinnett County Public Schools maintained educational classes until it was purchased by the City of Lawrenceville several years ago in an effort to assemble property for redevelopment in the Downtown area.
Chuck Warbington, City Manager, added, “We have a special and unique opportunity to take a site known for its exclusion and make it an inclusive and collaborative place for the whole community. We are excited to see both history and the future combine into one common facility and appreciate the County’s partnership with us to achieve this vision.”
The City hopes to begin design and initial preservation activities in 2018 with the goal of completion by 2020/2021. Funds for this facility have been identified through the 2017 SPLOST. For more information on the City of Lawrenceville, please visit www.lawrencevillega.org and to learn more about County initiatives, go to www.gwinnettcounty.com.
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