BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For 51 years, Whatley Elementary School was a hub of activity and education in north Avondale.
Since closing in 2015, the beloved school has fallen into disrepair and neglect.
From her vantage point across the street, North Avondale Neighborhood Association president Constance Mosley watches the school fall apart.
”It means a lot to me because because I have memories from the kindergarten class all the way up to the eighth grade. Those are memories that my family and I have of Whatley School. So, we definitely want to know what’s going to become of the building. That’s our main concern,” Mosley said.
Mosley’s concern has become Artis Murphy’s mission. Murphy and Nate Lewis purchased the building earlier this year and have a vision for the property that will return the school to a place of learning.
”This is going to be the assembly line. This is going to be a life skills center. We are going to produce the best student possible for the world in which they live,” Murphy said.
Murphy is in the middle of raising the money necessary to make his dream a reality, fueled by a passion to return this school to its former glory.
”This is the future to produce the best students possible. The best human being possible, red, yellow, black and white,” Murphy said.
The thought of returning this historic building to its educational roots is welcome news to Mosley.
”That’s what we need. more of that. If we can get that in this community I am sure it would grow with that,” Mosley said.
Murphy’s message to Mosley and the north Avondale community is to hold on to hope and get ready to help.
”Hang on and do everything you can to help,” Murphy said.
Murphy is still in the very early stages of raising the millions needed to bring the school back to life. He is also working to turn the vacant Council Elementary School into a family resource center.