The Mount Hope Heritage Center, formerly Mount Hope High School, has made significant progress in turning the closed school into a multi-use facility.

Mount Hope Heritage and Hope Inc. board member Rebecca Dean said since the group re-acquired the facility in June, they have worked to develop programs based on the space and strength of the building, as well as community needs.

Reaching out to alumni groups and area senior citizens, the Heritage and Hope board has a designated senior center within the facility as well as Mount Hope Alumni Association Rooms and DuBois on Main Satellite Rooms for artifacts and memorabilia. 

In a press release, Dean said rooms have been painted and the move has begun.

The group is developing programs for education, business use, recreation and the opportunity to rent rooms for conducting classes and special events.

Joey Madia, accomplished author, playwright and trainer, will hold a four-day workshop combining science and technology with the arts for youth thanks to a Beckley Area Foundation grant.

Dean said Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School’s girls’ basketball team has begun weekday practices and the Joe Aiello League has weekday practices and games scheduled to begin in December.

Moreover, the facility’s conference room has been refurbished to meet the area’s needs.

“Ideas and plans can be projected, but without the collaboration, support and contributions of individuals, friends and businesses; this progress could not be taking place” said Dean.

Several organizations and agencies have stepped up to help turn the old high school into Mount Hope Heritage Center.

J.R. Ford, building manager and maintenance supervisor, has enlisted the help of the day report center for help cleaning, painting, and preparing rooms for use.

The Fayette County Commission replaced crumbling front steps, providing a safe entry to the grounds and front door.

Direct Carpet has assisted in needs for the gym stage and MSHA has contributed computers, enabling the Center to develop a computer lab.

Dean said plans are in the works to develop a Comprehensive Wellness and Fitness Program and nontraditional educational programs.

Mount Hope Heritage Center is located at 110 High School Drive in Mount Hope. The school was originally built in 1954 to replace DuBois High School, one of the first black high schools in West Virginia. DuBois High School was built in 1919 and burned to the ground in 1950. In 1957, with the beginning of desegregation, DuBois High School became Mount Hope High School. 

Please send input or contributions to Mount Hope Heritage and Hope Inc., P.O. Box 230, Mount Hope, WV 25880.

Mount Hope Heritage and Hope board members are Sudana Greene, president; Brenda Troitino, treasurer; Tom “T.B.” Brown, secretary; Bill Bergendahl; Bernice Clayton; Sharon Cruikshank; and Rebecca Dean.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @Sarah_E_Plummer

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