G.W. Carver Elementary celebrates grand opening
IndependentTribune.com. Staff. September 01, 2017.

Kannapolis City Schools will host a community event to celebrate the grand opening of G.W. Carver Elementary School. It will be Sunday, Sept. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. The drop-in celebration will be free and open to the public.

Visitors will be able to tour the newly renovated school, see historical photos and displays from the original G.W. Carver High School, and enjoy student entertainment and light refreshments. There will be a brief program beginning at 3 p.m., which will include student entertainment and remarks from Kannapolis City Schools’ leaders, representatives of the Carver Community and members of the G.W. Carver High School Alumni Association.

G.W. Carver Elementary School officially opened to students Monday, Aug. 28. However, its roots date back nearly 100 years to 1923. G.W. Carver Elementary is located on the site of the historic G.W. Carver High School that served African-American students in Kannapolis prior to integration. The grand opening event on Sept. 10 will commemorate the school’s rich history and celebrate its exciting future.

G.W. Carver Elementary School is the only A+ Arts magnet school in the Cabarrus/Rowan area. Its teachers incorporate music, art, theater and dance into North Carolina’s regular school curriculum. The G.W. Carver building has been transformed from an intermediate school into an arts-focused elementary school. The building includes furniture, designs and facilities that allow students to explore their interests in all aspects of the arts.

During the grand opening ceremony, G.W. Carver Elementary will be open for tours, and students will present a short musical performance.

The G.W. Carver Elementary School building opened in 1980 as Kannapolis Middle School. It remained a middle school until the current KMS building on Oakwood Avenue opened in 2005. When the new KMS opened, the current G.W. Carver Elementary School building became Kannapolis Intermediate School.

The building has now been renovated to become an elementary school. It is called G.W. Carver Elementary School because the Kannapolis City Board of Education voted unanimously to rename the school in honor of G.W. Carver. School Board chair Todd Adams brought up the idea in January 2016 of changing the school’s name.

“The G.W. Carver name has such a rich history in Kannapolis,” Adams said at the time. “As a board, we wanted to honor that heritage and embrace the legacy that the G.W. Carver name has in our community.”

The original G.W. Carver High School was located on the site where G.W. Carver Elementary stands now. G.W. Carver High School was open from 1936 to 1967. It served the African-American community prior to integration.

The building has an even longer history, however. It was first used in 1923 as a school for African-American students and was the first official school building for children of color in Kannapolis. In 1936, an eight-room brick addition and auditorium were added to the building. At that time, the name was changed to honor the well-known black teacher and inventor, George Washington Carver. Even today, the area surrounding the school is known as the Carver Community.

Most of the original G.W. Carver High School was destroyed by fire in the 1970s. The original building is commemorated with a historical marker that sits next to G.W. Carver Elementary School. A small portion of the original G.W. Carver High School building survived the fire and is still used by Kannapolis City Schools as office space and a High School Career Center.

“The G.W. Carver grand opening on Sept. 10 will be a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and celebrate something very special in our community,” KCS Superintendent Dr. Chip Buckwell said. “We’re excited about returning the G.W. Carver name to one of our schools, and we’re excited about having an A+ Arts magnet program in KCS. This is a great time for our students, our school system and our community. I hope people will come out and enjoy this very special event.”

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