A school near Smyrna that is 120-years-old is set to be demolished soon and graduates of the school attended an open house on Saturday to bid their farewells. Fitzhugh Lee School welcomed countless students over its history.
Atlanta-based Pulte Group has the 5.7-acre property under contract with the Cobb school district for $4.3 million with plans to build high-end condos — pending approval from the Cobb Board of Commissioners, according to an article by the Marietta Daily Journal.
Fourteen boys and 14 girls graduated in 1942, and two boys and four girls are still living. All 14 boys fought in World War II, and all returned.
“Although no one was permitted inside the school itself due to unsafe conditions, the school’s teachers, students and employees reconnected in the school’s gym,” the article reads. “[The school] is located on a hill 1.5 miles south of Smyrna’s city limits with a view of the Atlanta skyline.”
The school first served as a one-room log cabin in 1896 under the name Locust Grove School, according to The Smyrna Historical & Genealogical Society. In 1936 the school’s name was changed to honor Col. Fitzhugh Lee, a descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
“Over the years, the school transformed from serving all grades to an elementary school to a special academy for international students in 2000 to a place for students with special needs under the HAVEN Academy program, which was moved to Skyview Elementary in Mableton a year ago,” the MDJ reports. “Tiffany Sullivan Stevens of Acworth, who attended the school from kindergarten to fifth grade from 1985 to1991, coordinated the open house and said about 150 people bid farewell to the school building.”
Several former students and staff members came out Saturday for the open house and brought memorabilia to reminisce about school days.
“Before the doors of Fitzhugh Lee were closed, a group of graduates posed for the school’s last class photo,” the article reads. “Francis Walker Jarvis of Smyrna, who attended the schools from kindergarten to seventh grade, said it was a bittersweet day for many people, but she said the memories of the school will stay with them even when the building is gone.”
The district plans to preserve some of the building’s bricks to give to the Smyrna Education Foundation, which will sell the bricks with proceeds benefiting schools in Smyrna.