Resident feedback wanted for Academy Street High School redesign

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Local residents with fond memories of Academy Street high School will have a chance to influence the redesign of the historic schoolhouse this week at the Troy Public Library.

Eight professionals from various design backgrounds will be in Troy from Thursday to Saturday to get input from citizens and sketch out ideas for how to revamp the building and surrounding community.

“It’s an honor to have been selected by Design Alabama,” said Mayor Jason Reeves. “I think it’s an excellent program that’s going to provide some good insight and tools from a varied group of disciplines that will help the community and this project. We’re certainly interested and excited about the community’s engagement in the project and looking forward to the process.”

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The first meeting will be Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the library for initial input and suggestions from interested members of the community.

Melissa Sanders, planning and zoning administrator for the City of Troy, said there will be no formal presentation made during the meeting; instead, residents will get to make their voices heard as they please.

“It will be a relaxed environment for community members to make their voices heard,” Sanders said. “If it fits your schedule, just stop by and see us. We want to know what the community needs, we want to hear their history, memories and ideas … The school is a wonderful historical asset in that area of our city and we would like to see it in use.”

Sanders said the design team ranges from landscape architects to interior design to members of the Alabama Historic Commission, giving a diverse array of expertise and backgrounds to strategize for the renovation.

Design Alabama, a nonprofit organization of design professionals, chose the option as its free summer DesignPlace project.

“Designplace is a program of our organization that is an opportunity for mayors who participated in our Mayor’s Design Summit to bring in design professionals to work on specific design issues in their communities,” said Gina Clifford, director.

A second come-and-go community meeting will be held Saturday at the library from noon to 1:30 p.m. from citizens to give feedback on concepts that the team crafts after the first meeting.

The project will not be final, however, at the end of the Saturday meeting, as the team will be continuing to take resident input and feedback. “They’re going to go back to their offices and finalize it,” Sanders said.

Councilwoman Wanda Moultry, District 5, said the redesign will invigorate the community that cherishes the school.

“What we think is could be used for is a host of programs for everyone from youth to seniors,” Moultry said. “It’s going to develop a sense of ownership, pride and self-esteem for people in that area.”