To tear down or fix up old Topsail High School?
A piece of Pender County history may be coming down, or it could get a face-lift.
The old Topsail High School built back in the 1920’s still stands and many want to keep it that way.
Right along Highway 17 is what’s left of the old Topsail High School. It’s a shell of what it used to be; a place where young minds were fed.
“I drive by it everyday and you can not think it when you drive by,” said Hiram Williams who wants to preserve the school.
The school was built in 1925, and 30 years later Hiram Williams walked through the doors.
During its heyday, it housed grades one through 12. The school was made up of 16 rooms and 10 teachers.
Williams still holds on to his yearbook, but now it’s the county that may not hold on to the school.
There’s a possibility Pender County may choose to demolish the building to make room for new development.
Williams said the history behind its walls needs preserving. “Things could be down to fix it up to reuse, and in today’s world of trying to go green, I think we should keep things available particularly to the public that have history behind them.”
There are dangers that come with a relic like Topsail.
The school contains asbestos and lead paint, making the job of renovating the school very costly.
County Commissioner Jimmy Tate said he is leaning toward restoring the school, but with the help of grant money. He wants to begin talks with local architects, the historical society and economists on how to handle what’s left of the former Topsail High School.
But is saving this piece of Pender history worth it?
Williams’ answer is clear. “Yes, it takes money but it takes money to build a new structure too so and when those buildings are down they don’t have the history behind them that a building like this would.”
The county has no official plans for the old Topsail High School. For now, Williams and other former students can still appreciate their alma mater.
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