McCray school undergoing exterior upgrades, renovations in spring of 2021

The Alamance-Burlington School System is undertaking a project to renovate a 468 square foot building that was used decades ago as a school house for Alamance County African-American students. The one-acre site, located at 4460 N. N.C. Highway 62, was built in 1915, and was used as a one-room school house for students until the consolidation of four Alamance County Schools back in 1951. 

The Alamance-Burlington School System is undertaking a project to renovate a 468 square foot building that was used decades ago as a school house for Alamance County African-American students. The one-acre site, located at 4460 N. N.C. Highway 62, was built in 1915, and was used as a one-room school house for students until the consolidation of four Alamance County Schools back in 1951. 

Although the property - which was last appraised in 2017 at a value of $35,468 - was damaged by a storm in the 1980s, the Historical Properties Commission of Alamance County helped restore the interior facility. ABSS is now seeking to undertake an extensive series of additional upgrades and repairs. Such upgrades could include repainting of the white board exterior, along with improvements to the site’s foundation and roof. 

Thanks to the work done by the Historical Properties Commission of Alamance County, the inside of the McCray School, as it was known, now includes old-style wooden plank benches, colored gray, along with an old United States map, a 48-star U.S. map from the 1940s and early 1950s, around the time the school was still in local use, along with a chalk blackboard.

The wooden floors and ceiling have been restored to their original functionality. In addition, there is a bookshelf, photographs of former U.S. Presidents such as George Washington, and a teacher’s desk, complete with books and an old kerosene lamp. 

Calland’s Historical Restoration, Inc., which is conducting the renovation of McCray School, is a 501c3 non-profit based in Virginia. Owned by Dale Aaron, the company has done numerous historical renovations of old properties, including recently an old post office in Callands, Virginia, that was originally constructed in 1885. Starting this spring, Calland’s Historical Restoration, Inc. can begin asking local companies for donations and lining up volunteers to complete the next phase of the McCray School renovation. 

In addition to preserving a piece of Alamance County history and creating goodwill in the local community, the renovation of McCray School will allow local children to benefit through visiting the school house on field trips. They can gain a greater understanding of how children in Alamance County were taught many decades ago, while gaining a greater appreciation of how things used to be. 

On Wednesday, February 3, ABSS superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson and assistant superintendent for operations, Dr. Todd Thorpe, met Dale Aaron at the McCray School building to discuss renovation plans. Aaron is working with ABSS to determine renovation needs, a budget, and steps to begin the repairs and upgrades in the spring of 2021.