Bransford Community Center
Past, Present and Future
Since 1913, The Bransford High School has been a historical treasure and landmark in the City of Springfield. Named from its founder Lena Bransford, it embodies the history and institutional memories of much of Spring- field’s African American community, and has provided a sense of pride and identity to hundreds of graduates. From 1939 to 1970, 2019 students graduated from Bransford High School. Robertson County Schools began the process of desegregation in 1965, and by 1970 all African American stu- dents were attending other schools. Bransford High School closed in 1970. It was subsequently used as Springfield Junior High School in the 1970s and as an alternative school until 1987. Sadly, after the building ceased use as an alternative school in 1987, no efforts were made to preserve the building. Engineers were utilized to evaluate the building, and they determined that some sections needed to be removed due to their condition. The gym roof had fallen in, water had intruded which resulted in a virtual forest of plant life and trees growing, and the asbestos created a number of health concerns. It was not feasible to salvage the gym, and it needed to be removed. However, the removal was especially expensive due to the asbestos issues. It was also determined that there were sections of the building that were structurally sound, and they could be renovated and preserved, and these areas were earmarked for preservation.
Over the past several years, the Greater Faith Community Action Corporation (GFCAC) led the efforts to renovate the central portion of the Bransford High School including a new roof, new flooring, new windows, new ceiling tiles, and numerous upgrades and repairs. In fall of 2012, an afterschool program and summer camp entitled “Bransford Pride” was established to enhance academics, character, and life skills of children from kindergarten to 5th grade in the community. This included the addition of raised gardens and a computer lab. Bransford Pride is now among the top afterschool programs in the State of Tennessee and is funded in large part by the Tennessee Department of Education LEAPS grant. This program has shown tremendous success and promise with 60 youth grades K-5 being tutored and mentored daily. The camp and afterschool program provides academic enrichment, mentoring, and daily activities sponsored by local non- profits, churches, the Springfield Police Department, and others. Most students have made significant academic gains in two or more subjects since being enrolled. This section of the original building was planned to be preserved for future generations. In 2016, the City picked up the expense of having the gymnasium removed. During the demolition, it was discovered that the demising wall between the gymnasium and the hallway and bath- rooms was weaker than anticipated by the city engineer and the city’s architect. This resulted in a reconsideration of the scope of the demolition project. Eventually, it was decided by the city that due to the lack of structural integrity of the middle section and presence of asbestos throughout the building, the entire building would need to be demolished. The building was demolished in April 2017.
The development of a fully-functional community center will likely be a public-private partner- ship between the city, county, Bransford Community Center Board, and other private and corporate donors. Cost and scope will be a factor, but if built incrementally, we can build a full service community center that will greatly enhance the quality of life for both our youth and adults while preserving the proud history of the Bransford tradition. The long awaited vision of a new multi- purpose community center is coming to pass! Let’s make it happen!
BE INVOLVED – SERVE CHRIST
“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.” (Matthew 25:35)
GFCAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organi- zation. A restricted capital donation account has been established at Re- gions Bank for this project. All dona- tions are tax-deductible.
DONATIONS TO GFCAC
All donations will be used towards operational support of our transitional homes, the Master’s Table soup kitchen, and for community programs and services. Your gift will make an immediate positive impact on someone suffering from addiction, homelessness, hunger, joblessness, poverty, grief, and other deep hurts.