Community Center grand opening set
DAILEY — The Homestead Community Center, which is the hub of the communities of Dailey, East Dailey, Valley Bend and outlying neighborhoods announces its grand opening and 80th year anniversary celebration slated for Saturday, Aug. 31.
Activities will begin with a public reception at 9 a.m., tours of the building and ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. The “New Deal in West Virginia” exhibit, a production of the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA) AmeriCorps, Randolph County Historical Society, and West Virginia Division of Culture and History, will be on display. Lunch will be available onsite for purchase with proceeds supporting the community center. The menu consists of pulled pork barbecue sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, brownie, and drink.
At 12:30 p.m., the first showing of the documentary titled, “The Tygarts Valley Homestead Story” will begin. The hour-and-a-half film, created by Tygart Valley Homestead Association members Jason and Peggy Proudfoot Harman, will bring to life the meaning of “American Success Story” through oral histories about the upbringing and experiences of many first generation Tygarts Valley Homesteaders through the voices of those future generations some 80 years later. The documentary will help others to gain an understanding of why today’s homesteaders remain dedicated to rehabilitating the school building to serve once again as the hub and spokes of community activities.
Jason Harman is a graduate of Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts and minor in film studies. Peggy Proudfoot-Harman, a graduate of Tygart Valley High School and Davis & Elkins College, received a Master’s degree from West Virginia University School of Social Work and Ph.D from Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville.
According to sources, the opening of the community center will highlight major upgrades since the Tygart Valley Homestead Association assumed ownership of the historic school building in 2018. Upgrades that have been successfully completed include boiler repair and the replacement of the storm damaged roof over the gym and cafeteria. The new roof was the result of a grant awarded to the association from the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Mold and mildew have been treated, and air quality and fire security testing have been satisfactorily performed. An emergency dialer has been installed as well as security cameras that are continuously monitored. Broken windows have been replaced, graffiti damaged walls painted, and excess paraphernalia left in the building when it was permanently closed has been removed.
The first phase of electrical upgrades was completed by Master Service Corp. and made possible by the Randolph County Commission’s approval of a funding request made by TVHA in the amount of $11,200. The installation of new electrical service and the relocation of the main disconnect to the exterior of the building were required to meet West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s requirements. Master Service also donated materials and labor to replace secondary feeders from the meter to the main distribution panel on the interior of the building.
Currently in progress is the removal of the building’s water damaged flooring from the kitchen and dining area. YouthBuild North Central West Virginia young adult participants worked on removing the layers of flooring and subflooring in preparation for renovations to begin in that area of the building. YouthBuild, sponsored by the Randolph County Housing Authority, provided workers in training who gained valuable hands-on construction and work experience while they were assigned to the Homestead Community Center kitchen project. Additionally, AmeriCorps volunteers scheduled a public service work day recently and removed another section of flooring from that area. A private donation of $25,000 from Don Judy of Beverly has been earmarked to begin the kitchen and dining renovations.
Another immediate need of the community center is getting the restrooms up to modern standards. Some of the original restroom fixtures from 80 years ago are still in place but no longer functional. The goal is to raise $5,000 for the restroom project. So far approximately $400 was raised from a GoFundMe set up by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia.
The TVHA Board of Directors will be available for questions from the crowd as well as to discuss in detail completed renovations, immediate need renovations, and how the Homestead Community has already been serving community needs. In the words of Tom Rennix, president of TVHA, “the opening of the Homestead Community Center is a dream come true for our membership, community, and board. Our goal for this area of Randolph County is to have a safe place to gather for meetings, social and recreational activities, educational classes, workshops, and youth programs. The grounds, track, and playground are open during daylight hours for the public’s enjoyment. We ask that pets be leashed, cleaned up after, and trash removed when leaving the premises. Even though the restrooms need modernized and the gymnasium floors eventually replaced, I believe the timing is right for the grand opening of the Homestead Community Center to be on the same day we celebrate the 80th year anniversary of the Homestead School building.” Donations are being accepted for the restroom project and may be mailed to: TVHA, P.O. Box 115, Dailey WV 26259 or dropped off at Rennix Flowers in Valley Bend. All donations are tax deductible.
For more information regarding the grand opening of the Homestead Community Center and 80th anniversary celebration, contact Rennix at 304-940-1855 or Roseann Rennix Rosier at 304-642-4997.
The Tygart Valley Homestead Association, organized in 2001, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the integrity of the Tygart Valley Homestead Historic District, a national historic district located near Dailey, West Virginia. The U.S. Homestead contains the only functional school building of the 99 schools built in the United States during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration under the direction of Eleanor Roosevelt. Now known as the Homestead Community Center, the former school building was added to the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s Endangered Properties List in 2016.