Attucks High School, Carbondale's long-closed black high school, has been designated by the Carbondale City Council as the centerpiece of a planned landmark district.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, in the run-up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, city manager Gary Williams told the council that adding Attucks school to the city's registry of historic places would help ensure the building's survival.
Attucks School opened in 1920, and the property once hosted an elementary and high school. The current Attucks High School on East Main dates to 1948. It closed in 1965, with students enrolling at Carbondale Community High School. Attucks has since faced an uncertain future, but alumni have worked over the years to save the school from the wrecking ball. They have long hoped to raise funds to open a cultural center there.
Williams told the council that plans are for Attucks to eventually house the African American Museum of Southern Illinois, currently based at University Mall. Council member Tom Grant said he was concerned whether the historic designation would hinder any plans to modernize the old school.
Williams, as well as city development manager John Lenzini, told the council that modernizations could be made while preserving the building's historic integrity.
Council member Ginger Rye Sanders said she supported the historic district in honor of the many Attucks graduates.
The council, with Grant, Rye Sanders, Jeff Doherty, Adam Loos, Lee Fronabarger and Mayor Pro Tem Carolin Harvey, voted 6-0 to approve the designation.