Christiansburg Institute to continue conversations about the future of its historical property

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 7:13 AM EST
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - It is a legacy that goes back nearly 100 years. The story of the historical Christiansburg Institute (C.I.) and the Edgar A. Long Building continues.

The property was the first high school in the region formed to educate freed slaves.

The Institute and its alumni continue their efforts - to preserve not only the Edgar A. Long building, but the 4.4 acres it sits on.

They want to open the discussion to the community on what the landmark could be for future generations.

“We’re doing our due diligence today to lay additional seed so we can ensure future generations are coming to something sustainable that can last in this region,” said Chris Sanchez, executive director of the Christiansburg Institute.

To start this process, Christiansburg Institute and local planning and design firm Hill Studio are hosting a series of roundtables to learn from community stakeholders about what they would like to see incorporated into the Christiansburg Institute’s master plan.

“It’s one of the last surviving structures from the former historic Christiansburg industrial Institute,” said Sanchez.

“It might just be the center of a larger effort,” said Hunter Greene, Hill Studio’s director of architecture.

Hill Studio will compile the results of the roundtables and use that information, and the additional resources that have been collected, and commence with the Master Planning process. The process will include schemes, designs and narratives to develop the plan with Christiansburg Institute committee members and Hill Studio’s in-house planners.

They are looking to bring new life to the building.

“We are basically reaching out and entertaining the voices of various members of our community to find out what types of services would be important to the community,” said vice chair of the C.I. board, Ray Williams.

Their hope is to redevelop the property all while preserving its history.

“And to see how we can best gel and come up with a vision, and very importantly, we are hoping that this roundtable can reveal some thoughts or some ideas perhaps we haven’t had,” said Williams.

The roundtables will include about six virtual conversations ranging from economic development to outdoor land use and even tourism.

“So we’re really excited to sort of welcome in the community; just want to see what is the vision, what is the need in the community,“ said Sanchez.

It’s all so this place can once again serve the community for another 100 years.

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