The Lee County Board of Education and the Lee County Board of Commissioners have selected the former W.B. Wicker School site, located at 806 S. Vance Street in Sanford, as the location for the county’s newest elementary school. The school is expected to open in the fall of 2019.
W.B. Wicker School was built in 1927, and its hallways were filled with children until its closing in 1990. The school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. (See more information below on the school’s nomination to the National Register.)
A conceptual plan of the school has been developed by Hite Associates, a North Carolina-based firm that has extensive experience in working with national, state and local historic preservation commissions to restore and rehabilitate historic school buildings. With W.B. Wicker School as a jewel in the crown of the educational and cultural heritage of our community, restoration of the campus will serve our students – along with the citizens of Lee County – for generations to come.
As envisioned, the school will serve approximately 1,000 children in Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. A plan to incorporate both an attendance zone and a school-of-choice model is being considered.
A STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), along with support services and strong community involvement, will give students attending the new school a solid foundation for their education and their future.
The Lee County Training School, better known as W.B. Wicker School, served as Sanford and Lee County’s African American high school from construction in 1927 until it was decommissioned as a high school in 1969. The one-story brick building, characterized by large windows alternating with pilasters, was renamed in 1954 after its first principal, William Bartelle Wicker, and it was built by contractor A.L. “Link” Boykin, a leading member of Sanford’s black community. Additions were made to the building in 1934 and 1949, and the campus was enlarged by the construction of other buildings from the 1930s through the 1960s.
Construction funds were provided in part by the Rosenwald Fund, conceived in the 1910s by Southern black leader and educator Booker T. Washington.
United States Department of the Interior
National Park Service
National Register of Historic Places
See the full Registration Form - http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/LE0266.pdf