The Georgia Trust

2009 PLACES IN PERIL: MARY RAY MEMORIAL SCHOOL

Story/significance:  In 1908, Robert F. and Laulie Ray Shedden created a town in Coweta County, which they named Raymond after Laulie’s parents, Captain John D. and Mary Rawson Ray. The Sheddens also donated land to serve as the location of the town’s school, which was built in 1909 and named for Laulie’s mother. The school has been used for educational purposes, public meetings, public worship, community service and entertainment. By 1950 the school had closed, and the building had become the Raymond Community Center.

Challenge/threat:  The school building had been in disarray since the 1980's, and plagued with rotting sills, sagging beams and a failing foundation. The Building was completely covered in vegetation and was close to collapse.  Restoration efforts have been hindered from the lack of support from the Coweta County government. 

Progress:  The work that has been accomplished at the building is due in  large part to the grassroots efforts of the members of the community.  On March 14, 2009, a community workday attracted significant public participation and local attention.  At the close of the day, the impressive results included the removal of an incompatible bathroom addition; recycling of the majority of the building material; painting of the porch; scrapping and prepping of large sections of recycled trim pieces for future installation; replacement of a large section of flooring as well as a section of beaded ceiling; and removal of debris from the pockets behind wainscoting and other areas in the interior.  That same day, The Georgia Trust awarded a $10,000 matching grant to the Mary Ray Memorial School to complete stabilization work.  Since then, the majority of the stabilization work on the structure has been completed.

Impacts/outcomes: The workday secured the building from further decay and began its rehabilitation. The matching grant accelerated the work on the building and its completion.  The building is now being used as a community center.    

Next Steps:  The Field Services Manager continues to work with the local group and community leaders as they apply for building inspections.

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