A glimpse inside the old first-grade building that is the only building left at the Fairview school complex in Cave Spring. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Cash is in the bank, another big check is in the mail and leaders of the effort to restore the old Fairview school in Cave Spring are seeking a contractor to restore the historic first grade building.

Joyce Perdue-Smith, who has led the campaign to restore the historic school said she feels very good about having sufficient funding to cover the cost of restoring the only building that remains on the old Fairview Colored School campus on Padlock Mountain.

Perdue-Smith said the Fairview School/ES Brown Heritage Corporation has received a $47,000 grant from the state, which coupled with private donations should cover the cost of the restoration work.

Cave Spring philanthropists Wesley Walraven and Brian Moore led a challenge fund raising drive for the past eight months, pledging $75,000 of their own funds if the group in Cave Spring could raise a matching $100,000, which has actually been exceeded by $6,000.

Walraven, in a letter to the corporation, said he was mailing the $75,000 check today (July 30).

“We should be in good shape," Perdue-Smith said. “I feel very comfortable about that.”

The city of Rome is acting as the purchasing agent for the campaign and is now advertising for a contractor for the project. A mandatory Pre-Proposal Conference will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Fairview school project site, 278 Padlock Mountain Road.

Proposals from contractors are due to the City Purchasing Director by 11 a.m. Monday Aug. 20.

Brown said the restoration of the first grade building is just Phase One of a larger project to develop the former Rosenwald school site as a functioning museum and community educational center. Julius Rosenwald was president of Sears Roebuck and worked with Booker T. Washington to build state-of-the art schools for African-American children across the South.

The restoration phase will restore the building to the way it looked during the first half of the 20th century.

“We plan to house our education opportunities in the first grade building and use it simultaneously as a museum as part of a teaching effort,” she said.

Future plans include a garden and then an expanded scope which might include additional buildings, a welcome center and possible use of a lodge hall adjacent to the Fairview property which could include a kitchen.

“Then we could tell the whole story of the community that existed there, there's a lot of history that we can interpret on the campus there,” Perdue Smith said.