Columbus' Lee Middle School designated historical landmark

The two-year dream of bringing life to an abandoned 60-year-old Columbus school took a step closer to reality early Tuesday. In a unanimous vote, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History designated the site of Lee Middle School as a Mississippi Historic Landmark.

Posted: May 22, 2018 4:16 PM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (Press Release) - The two-year dream of bringing life to an abandoned 60-year-old Columbus school took a step closer to reality early Tuesday. In a unanimous vote, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History designated the site of Lee Middle School as a Mississippi Historic Landmark.

Today’s decision and last week’s action by the Columbus Planning Commission and the Columbus City Council to rezone the property on Military Road as C-1, helps move the project ahead to convert the site into a new mixed use facility.

“This is spectacular news,” said John Acker, the chairman of the Columbus Redevelopment Authority. “We have a developer that said these two actions were needed to get historic preservation tax credits for costs of rehabilitation and we have done that. This is not a done deal yet, but we are much closer than ever before.”

The identity of the developer has not yet been announced, but previous information said the site would be made into a commercial operation containing retail and entertainment spaces, as well as loft apartments.

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority was established in 2014 Columbus Mayor Robert Smith and the City Council. Its first Board members were appointed by Mayor Smith. Members of the Authority are John Acker, Chairman, Tommy Lott, Jr., Mark Castlebury, Robert Rhett, and Marthalee Porter.George Irby serves as its Executive Director. The group is charged with redeveloping blighted areas into tax-generating properties that benefit Columbus.

Nancy Carpenter, a member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Executive Director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, made the motion for the designation at the Tuesday morning meeting of the state group.

With the historic designation, the developer can claim up to a 45 percent historic preservation tax credit on money spent on the rehabilitation portion of the project.

“A lot of people have worked to get us this close, and now we are ready for the final steps,” said Acker. The option on the sale of the property runs until June 30, 2018. Acker hopes to close the deal before that date.

The school closed its doors in 2011. It was built as Lee High School in the 1950s and later converted to a middle school before being closed. It includes a separate gymnasium, commercial kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium and classrooms.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 29684

Reported Deaths: 1103
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds238239
DeSoto148616
Madison126734
Jones110449
Neshoba98171
Lauderdale90079
Rankin88812
Forrest85142
Harrison84210
Scott76215
Copiah59216
Jackson58416
Leake57019
Holmes54441
Wayne53513
Lee53218
Oktibbeha53226
Washington5319
Warren49618
Yazoo4936
Leflore48049
Lowndes47212
Lincoln44334
Lamar4407
Grenada4325
Pike40712
Monroe38830
Lafayette3774
Attala35823
Sunflower3467
Newton3389
Covington3345
Panola3256
Bolivar32114
Adams29318
Simpson2833
Pontotoc2736
Marion27011
Tate2709
Chickasaw26918
Claiborne25610
Jasper2566
Winston2546
Noxubee2538
Pearl River24832
Clay24710
Marshall2173
Smith21611
Clarke20524
Coahoma1916
Union1919
Walthall1804
Kemper17714
Lawrence1701
Yalobusha1677
Carroll16411
Itawamba1348
Humphreys1329
Calhoun1284
Tippah12811
Hancock12613
Webster12610
Montgomery1242
Tallahatchie1224
Jefferson Davis1094
Prentiss1023
Greene1018
Jefferson993
Tunica933
Wilkinson929
Amite892
George783
Tishomingo741
Quitman730
Choctaw724
Perry654
Alcorn631
Stone571
Franklin412
Sharkey340
Benton300
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 84°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather