Architectural Rendering of Design Proposed by Boney Architects • Leslie N. Boney, Architect • 1925
Grainger High School as pictured in the late 20s
|After the loss by fire in 1924 of the Kinston High School located between Vernon Avenue and Lenoir St. at their intersections with East St., a replacement project was initiated. A new site was selected on land previously owned by Jesse W. Grainger at the corner of then Independent Street and Park Avenue. Jesse W. Grainger had been a prominent leader/provider for much of Kinston's growth in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. He had generously paid for one-half of the cost of Kinston's first major high school destroyed by a fire.
It was decided the new high school would be named Grainger High School. Boney Architects of Wilmington was selected for design and Palmer-Spivey Construction Company of Charlotte for construction, both firms with recognized experience in the design and construction of institutional buildings in North Carolina. The General Contract for the project was $182,340, subs were: Plumbing, $8,400; Heating, $19,638; Electric, $8,839 for a total of $219,217. The final payment made on January 3, 1926. (Information and image provided by LS3P Associates Ltd., successor to Boney Architects of Wilmington, NC)
Grainger High School served Kinston from its beginning until 1970 as a segregated school. After that time, Grainger High and Adkin High Schools were combined as an integrated Kinston High School under one roof until 1979 when faculty and students relocated to the current north Kinston campus, 2601 North Queen Street.
Following relocation, the Grainger High facility was sold to a private developer. The developer, an organized fundraiser group, and others renovated the auditorium and it serves as The Grainger-Hill Performing Arts Center for the City of Kinston. The property was later sold to The Landmark Development Group that has renovated space to provide 57 units of elderly housing referred to as Grainger Elderly Housing with added community spaces. Three floors of renovation according to strict guidelines by the Dept of Cultural Resources, and includes a new internal hydraulic elevator. Site masterplan also includes a daycare facility and health club activities in adjacent buildings. Local Dunn & Dalton Architects, P.A. provided the renovation design. Project cost: $5.1 million, over 23 times the cost of the original property. Eighty-five years and still going strong.
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