COLUMBUS, Ga. — A historic Columbus building seems to have a more straightforward path to getting renovations. The Historic Claflin School on 5th Avenue now has a secure source to fund its restoration. The Friends of Historic Claflin needed a way forward to give them momentum after a four-year lull. On Tuesday, Columbus City Council heard Rev. Richard Jessie, the spokesman for the group, as well as Oracle Consulting.
Oracle will partner with Claflin to develop the worn-down school over the next three years. Acquisitions Director Scott Henry says the funding will come from tax credits and low income housing tax, costing taxpayers little in the long run.
“We’ll arrange the financing and manage the development process from the design all the way through construction and lease up,” Henry said. “We’ll manage and operate the facility for the long term.”
Rev. Jessie says the partnership with Oracle is key in accelerating progress of the historical school’s renovations.
“This partnership is going to allow us not only to restore the school, but to sustain it once it’s restored,” Rev. Jessie explained to News 3.
Oracle is asking the city to change the zoning for Claflin’s property. The company also wants to extend Claflin’s lease 45 years with the city. Progress should pick up this July, when Claflin will begin restoring the building. That should take about 17 months. They will then prepare the building for tenants in 2018, prepare to open in 2019, and finally open for educational purposes by Spring 2020.