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Grand opening set for new county central office

Xavier Smith • Mar 2, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Wilson County Schools will unveil its new central office March 18 at 2 p.m. with a ribbon cutting and open house ceremony at the former Lebanon High School building.

The Wilson County Commission originally approved $20 million for renovations of the Harding Drive facility, which will bring nearly every department within the Wilson County school system under one roof for the first time.  

One of those departments is the Wilson County Adult High School, which currently calls a nearby building home. The school will join all but transportation and technology departments in the old Lebanon High School building. 

The district kicked off the renovation project in November 2016, as district and community leaders discussed the importance of the building and the renovation project.

“We are equally ecstatic. This is a place I called home for 33 years. It’s seems surreal that I’ll be coming back, but I’m coming back for the Adult High School as the Adult High School principal,” said principal Mary Ashby. 

“We’re thankful to our county commissioners, school board, [Director of Schools] Dr. [Donna] Wright and for everyone who had the vision to bring this building into the spectacular place that’s going to be for all of Wilson County.”

School board member Johnie Payton didn’t spend 33 years at the old Lebanon High School, but she was one of 13 African-American students who integrated the school in 1963.

Payton said she remembered how the building looked at the time and was thankful it would be used as the central office. 

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, former Lebanon High School head boys’ basketball coach, said he believed using the building as a central office would add to the building’s rich history. 

“I think to put this place back in business is good for the history side of it,” said Hutto, who said the renovation had another positive aspect. “This side of town now is seeing a lot of action when you talk about this high school here becoming a central office. You’ve got the Expo Center just across the way, and Cumberland University is possibly talking about working with the old McFarland hospital. This will help revitalize this side of the town and this side of the county, which is important for us.”

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