MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It’s been a long time dream of people in Orange Mound.
The old Melrose High School building is in the process of transforming into something very different than what it was built for almost a century ago.
On Tuesday, we found out this building is getting another boost that has Melrose alums happy as ever.
“It’s for real,” Melrose High alum Jackie Holland said. “Yeah, it’s a real feeling. It looks like a building now. We been waiting and waiting and waiting on it to come to be this, and so now just going inside was very emotional for me.”
It’s been a long time coming.
The historic school building had fallen into a state of deep disrepair.
The remodeling process is well underway, and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee 9th District) announced Monday a boost to the project: $3 million in federal funds.
“A great idea is to use this school for job training, for genealogy, center for housing, you name it,” Rep. Cohen said at an event to celebrate the funding. “But they needed some money, and they had some money, and one of the jobs of a congressman, if he does the job correctly or she does it correctly, is to work with your elected officials. And it’s been an honor for me to work with (Memphis) Mayor Jim Strickland.”
Lives were changed inside this building starting in 1938 until it closed more than two decades ago, and it will pick up that mission again, but in a different way.
In place of the classrooms, a new library will open; it’s the first-ever in Orange Mound. There will be a genealogy center and housing for more than two dozen seniors.
“I’m just glad to see progress going on in this situation,” Melrose High alum Johnnie Macon said. “It’s been quite a while Melrose been here, so I’m just glad to see the progress, and I just want to see the end effect and how it comes out.”