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Meridian is loved by many, and its future is a major concern for all.


Join the Meridian Architectural Trust as we continue bringing subject matter experts in the field of historic preservation to share best practices with us.


Together, our community can take the next step of this journey together!

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SPEAKER

 
Edward Lynch
President of the Wechsler Foundation Board

Where Are We Now?

Updates on the Wechsler School Project

 

March 28, 2023

Where are we now?

To briefly summarize where we are now on the Wechsler project. The Wechsler school building was the first brick school built in the state of Mississippi for Black students with public money in 1894. Our intent is to work backwards from the 1951 annex because it is in the best shape. The facility was built in three stages the original was built in 1894, an addition in 1914 and the final addition in 1951. Originally we wanted to secure the facility by adding new windows and doors. Mississippi Department of Archives and History required us to put a roof on the 1951 portion first. We have to date installed a new roof on the 1951 portion of the building and we have placed a firewall between the 1951 and 1894 buildings additions.

 

While seeking funds for renovation and restoration we try to maintain an active presence in the Meridian community. Even though we’re not able to utilize our school fully we still provide programs and activities for the community. With funding assistance from The Riley Foundation and Phil Hardin Foundation we have sponsored several events such as:

  • Bringing the Tuskegee Airmen plane and exhibit to Meridian

  • Dr. John Hunt, Professor of Science and Tech. from Mississippi College for Science Fun Day.

  • The Emmitt Till play at the Temple Theater.

  • The George Stinney play at the Temple Theater.

  • Wechsler Day, the third Saturday of October each year.

 

Current Status

The most recent grants that we received were a Civil Rights Grant from The National Park Service in the amount of $500,000 and a Historic Preservation from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in the amount of $277,000. Prior to Covid 19 this amount of money would have completed restoration and renovations on the 1951 annex with the exception of three upper level classrooms. Despite our best efforts and intentions, we were severely hampered by Covid 19 as everyone around us. Post Covid we ran requests for bids for the same work that pre Covid we could have completed with funds on hand. Ads were run on September 9th and 16th 2021, with bid opening on October 20, 2021. When the bids were opened at this time, according to the lowest bid we were then around $900,000 short of necessary funds to complete the restoration and renovations.

 

We are currently seeking additional funds to complete this phase of the project as well as hopefully being able to move on to the original 1894 building and the 1914 annexation.

PARTICIPATION * PRESERVATION * PARTNERSHIP

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

Past Lunch & Learns:

Be a part of planning the future of Meridian!

Attend the Lunch & Learns and continue engaging with our preservation potential.

Help shape the way our city thinks about its past and its future.

PRESENTED BY:
Meridian Architectural Trust
For more information concerning our Lunch & Learns

601-227-1905 or meridianarchitecturaltrust@gmail.com

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