Preservation Durham Hosts Tour of Historic Renovation in NE Central Durham

Posted in the Durham Forum

“Blueplate PR ”

Since: Jun 13

Raleigh, NC

#1 Nov 5, 2013
--“Hidden Durham Tour” will take the public inside the 114-year-old building that now houses the Maureen Joy Charter School --

Preservation Durham has announced a “Hidden Durham Tour” of the newly renovated, 114-year-old Maureen Joy Charter School building on Thursday, November 14th, from 6-7:30 p.m. The once badly dilapidated building was the home of the Y.E. Smith School until 1967. Sign-ups for the tour will start Thursday, November 7th.

A major step forward for the Northeast Central Durham community (formerly known as East Durham), the Maureen Joy Charter School opened its new, larger facility at 107 South Driver Street this school year, and people in the neighborhood say it has already had a positive impact on a community that, for decades, was defined by poverty and crime.

“This is one of the best things that’s ever happened in East Durham,” Carrie Walker, who lives right across the street, told The Durham News in September.

“This, to me, is unbelievable,” said Tony Garrett said, who lives a block up Driver Street.

The Classical Revival-style building was built in 1887, first as a wood-frame building that saw major additions in the 1920s and ‘30s. Since the 1990s it has been used as a storage facility and suffered major water and termite damage, faulty wiring, and a partially collapsed roof, among other structural issues.

Architect Eddie Belk, AIA, of Belk Architecture in Durham designed the $10 million renovation, correcting all the problems, uncovering windows, and creating an interior courtyard to bring more sunlight into the new school. From the main, octagonal entrance lobby, formerly walled hallways are now open and the electronics are state-of-the-art. Ceiling light fixtures are period reproductions and the original hardwood floors now gleam.

“We'd love to have to alums of the Y.E. Smith School join us for this special tour,” said Wendy Hillis, Preservation Durham’s Executive Director.

Preservation Durham sponsors Hidden Durham Tours of special Durham places periodically throughout the year --“places you don’t ordinarily get to see,” said Hillis,“such as renovation projects, previews of new spaces about to open, and cool historic spots you didn’t even know were there.”

Unlike Preservation Durham’s other Hidden Durham Tours, attendees for the school tour do not need to be members of the non-profit organization. Instead, tickets are being sold for $5 per person and all proceeds will be donated the Maureen Joy Charter School's library. Admittance will be on half-hour time slots from 6 until 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets and time slots, go to .

For more information on “Hidden Durham Tours” and other Preservation Durham events, visit .

About Preservation Durham:

Preservation Durham is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving Durham’s architectural heritage. The organization was founded in 1974, originally as the Historic Preservation Society of Durham. Preservation Durham has worked to establish historic districts in Durham that provide tax credits for homeowners of historic houses. Preservation Durham ’s Endangered Properties Fund helps buyers and sellers of historic properties protect them with preservation covenants. Its Renovators Network provides information and expertise to homeowners and other renovators. For more information visit .

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