West Virginia School Undergoes Transformation

By SCN Staff

LEWISBURG, W.V.—Work has begun on renovating the Greenbrier Episcopal School in Lewisburg. When completed, it will be known as the Greenbriar Community School at Bolling.

The school was originally funded at the end of American Civil War as the Lewisburg Colored Junior High and Graded School. The school for African-American children was renamed Bolling Junior High and Elementary School in 1933, in memory of respected local educator Edward A. Bolling, who taught there for many years. The school was rebuilt following a fire, and the present three-story structure was known as Bolling High School from 1940 until 1963, when the integration of Lewisburg’s schools was declared complete and Bolling was shuttered.

According to an article in the Register-Herald, the project is slated for completion in August 2020. The Mills Group is providing architectural and engineering services for the project. A new roof on the main structure and updated guttering system are currently under construction.

Lewisburg developer Lance Syner said, in a statement, that six classrooms are in that part of the building. The renovation of that section comprises the first phase of what he expects to be a two- or three-phase project.

Syner told local media that the purpose of the project is to create a school and a community center. While this is not an historic preservation project, the board is aiming to preserve major portions of the structure as possible. The school board has contracted with Janice Cooley to safeguard the school’s history, including artifacts. Syner said a main stairwell will become “the history walkway.”

A second story will be added to the Maple Street side of the building where a new main entrance will be located. The entrance was on the Oak Street side, but Syner said, the Maple Street side provides better vehicular parking space allowing parents to safely drop off and pick up their children.

The second phase of the project will include the renovation of the existing gymnasium that will be named in honor of Vernell “Bimbo” Coles, a former NBA player, who lives in Lewisburg. His nonprofit GROW Project sold the Bolling School property to Greenbrier Episcopal in December.

Greenbrier Episcopal/Greenbrier Community School has 45 students as the 2019-20 academic year begins, by Lyner hope that enrollment will increase to between 80 and 100 by spring.