Woman fights to save historic Atlanta high school

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ATLANTA - A northeast Atlanta woman has started a petition drive to save a historic school that once had Martin Luther King Jr. walking its hallways, among other notable Atlantans.

Priscilla Borders fears the current Atlanta School Board and administration may demolish the former David T. Howard building, instead of re-use it as a solution to overcrowding or lease it out to a charter school.

The 100,000 square foot building sits boarded up and surrounded by fencing at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Howell Street in the Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood.

It hasn't been used as a school since 1976. It was most recently used as a school district warehouse.

"A lot of history (here) and it’s history we don't want to lose," Borders said as she walked outside the building’s fencing Sunday afternoon.

Besides civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson attended Howard, as did basketball great Walt Frazier.

The building was an elementary school for many years and then converted to a high school.

"We are going to try and fight as hard as we can," Borders said.

Borders wants her kids to attend this school one day and has started an online petition to convince Atlanta school board members to save the building, not tear it down.

"When you demolish a building, you’re not just taking away the bricks, you're taking away the memories and the significance," said Inman Park Neighborhood Association member Regina Brewer.

Brewer said her studies show it would cost just about the same to renovate this structure as it would to tear it down and rebuild. Activists expect Superintendent Errol Davis to give his recommendations on what to do with this site in the near future.

Channel 2 Action News tried reaching out to Atlanta Public School leaders over the past two days for a comment, but no one replied.
"We want this building to be saved, restored and reused,” Brewer said.

Borders started a petition on Change.org that has close to 300 online signatures as of Sunday afternoon. She said she plans to present the results to the school board at its meeting next month.