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Southron

Barton Academy Renovation

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Barton Academy opened in 1836 and became Alabama's first public school in 1852. County school officials are trying to figure out what to do with the old building since system administrative offices are moving to another location. Renovation would cost about $25 million and the building may return to use as a school or become a museum.

Mobile Press-Register: Preservationists open doors for peek at Barton

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Should Barton Academy be returned to use as a school once again, turned into a museum, or put to some other use?

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I think a museum would be great. Mobile is a city overflowing with history, but it has not preserved its old buildings

and capitalized on historic tourism to even a fraction of a degree of New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, etc.

As a sidenote, my grandfather was principal at Barton decades ago.

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Hopefully it will remain as a public building preferably as a museum or a school.

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I think that it should either be a museum or shcool also. I think it would be nice if South Alabama created a dowtown campus at barton like the one in fairhope.

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I'd like it to remain a public building as well, preferably as a school or museum. A magnet school for the best and the brightest kids in the county would be a good fit. I guess the school board gave up on the art school idea that was discussed for the Gayfers building, but that would be a nice fit too. The Museum of Mobile could be moved there, and the old city hall returned to use as a city market or something, but then the museum would be separated from the exploreum.

Whatever is done, I hope the building gets a full renovation, regardless of the cost.

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I'd like it to remain a public building as well, preferably as a school or museum. A magnet school for the best and the brightest kids in the county would be a good fit. I guess the school board gave up on the art school idea that was discussed for the Gayfers building, but that would be a nice fit too. The Museum of Mobile could be moved there, and the old city hall returned to use as a city market or something, but then the museum would be separated from the exploreum.

Whatever is done, I hope the building gets a full renovation, regardless of the cost.

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I actually emailed the lady in charge of the project and she said they are filling out applications for multiple agencies that help protect historic landmarks. She mentioned specifically the National Trust(I believe was the name of the organization), because I asked her about the Save our History program in conjunction with the History Channel. This program is sponsored by the National Trust. Some examples shown in their commercials include hotels converted to condos and other local landmarks that are saved and rennovated into useful spaces.

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The Mobile County school board approved the hiring of an architect to draw up exterior restoration plans for Barton Academy. The cost of the exterior restoration is estimated at $3.3 million, and a full restoration about $20 million. Full funding is not yet available, but school system officials expect to find out this month if a $14 million federal grant will be received.

According to the article, nothing is guaranteed at this point, but at least a first step is being taken by school officials.

Schools OK architecture plan for Barton

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