The Leak Street Alumni became the owners of the Leak Street High School real property on Monday.
Three documents were signed to hand over the property to the Alumni: the deed, the sales agreement and a HUD-1 or closing statement.
The former school was sold for a nominal fee of $10 and there was a $26 recording fee.
“This is a historic occasion for us,” said J.C. Watkins, president of the Leak Street Cultural Center. “Public schools in this country are what made this country,” he said.
Watkins said he has mixed feelings about the transfer of property because signing the documents officially closes the school. He thanks the school administrators and the Richmond County Board of Education for making the sale possible.
The decision to sell the property was announced at the March Board of Education meeting. The property was sold under two conditions. One condition is that no educational school can operate on the property, and the other condition is that Leak Street Alumni must preserve the historical nature of the property.
“It’s always good when the school system can give property back to communities,” said George Norris, Richmond County Schools superintendent.
According to the Leak Street Alumni website, Leak Street High School was originally a subscription school supported by parents and operated by some ministers in Rockingham.
In 1955, the school name was changed from Graded School to Rockingham Colored High School. The name of the school changed a number of times in later years, to Rockingham High School and then Leak Street High School, the website said.
As integrating of schools changed the dynamics of education, Richmond Senior High School was built to combine all of the high schools in Richmond County. Leak Street High School then became Leak Street Elementary School and in 1990, a new school was built to replace the old Leak Street School. There was also a time when it was the Leak Street Alternative School.
Norris said the alumni organization is looking for possible community uses for the school building.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.