OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – While most people remember the old school building on School Street in Oak Hill as an elementary school, some may even remember it as a high school until 1950, but either way, the structure stands as a cherished historic landmark for the city, and now even on a national level.
“The process is, once they approve it from a cultural and history standpoint, then it goes to the National Park Service for them to review the facility before it gets the recognition, so that didn’t occur until 2020,” says John David, director of Southern Appalachian Labor School.
While the National Register of Historic Places specifies it as Oak Hill High School, the current owners of the building, Southern Appalachian Labor School, changed the name to the Historic Oak Hill School to encompass all of those who attended it, and to honor the decades of history the building holds.
“We feel it’s respect. I think having any kind of historic presence with the fact that we have the new national park is also something beneficial to the area,” he says.
In addition to its multitude of current uses, the Southern Appalachian Labor School plans to transform the historic school into a community hub full of culture and activity.
“We would like to consider making it a downtown hub where people can live, where people can eat, watch movies and take advantage of the auditorium and be within walking distance of the main street,” David says.
Another aspect the labor school hopes to install in the building is a museum showing, not only the history of the school, but the region itself.
This marks Oak Hill’s second national historic registration landmark, the other being the former railroad depot.