A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lincoln Grant Scholar House construction will bring new life to historic school building in Covington

The Lincoln-Grant School, from Kenton County Library archives

The Lincoln-Grant School, from Kenton County Library archives

By Jacob Lange
NKyTribune intern

The historic building that first housed an all-black school, then an integrated elementary and most recently a community center will become a home for single-parent families who want to continue their schooling.

The Covington commissioners authorized the development of the Lincoln Grant Scholar House at 824 Greenup Street on July 7.

Single-parent families will be provided with an education program and an affordable housing component, allowing them to work toward a productive life after college.

Students will be provided with academic advisers, family support services, peer support and activities to help the children and families build a strong community throughout the building. Students will also be required to maintain a certain grade point average and work four hours of community service per week.

Carran

Carran

“This project has been going on for over two years,” Mayor Sherry Carran said. “This building has a huge significance to the neighborhood, the historic fabric of Covington, and to the graduates and those who taught at Lincoln Grant.”

The development agreement approved by the city calls for Covington to contribute $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, and $250,000 in HOME funds. Improvements to sidewalks in the area of the Lincoln Grant building have been added to the city’s overall sidewalk improvement program.

The development team for the project has partnered with Marian Development Group, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, and PNC bank.

The building opened in 1932 as a school for African-American students, kindergarten through 12th grade. William Grant High School closed in 1965 and students transferred to Holmes High School.

After integration, Lincoln Grant remained an elementary school until it closed in 1976 because of dwindling enrollment. The building then became the Northern Kentucky Community Center, lasting until 2003. Since then the building has remained vacant and deteriorating.

Students will be able to attend various colleges from around the area. The development team is working with numerous after-school programs for the children to attend while their parents are in class or working in the community. The programs currently on board include the Head Start Center in Covington. The development team is also working on expanding to other after-school programs around the area including Gateway Community College.

The school today

The school today

The Lincoln Grant Scholar House will contain 45 apartments of both two- and three-bedroom units. Twenty-five of these units will be constructed from rooms inside the building, while 20 will be newly constructed units not originally part of the building.

The development team is required to meet with those who run nearby Randolph Park, which will undergo some changes after the construction is done.

The park is home to many family reunions and functions of 100-plus people, and the meeting areas and basketball courts must be able to accommodate that many people after construction.

The development team is hopeful to begin this project by November and see completion by August 2016 to allow students attending school that fall to be moved in and acclimated to the program

The Lincoln Grant Scholar House would operate under the same principles as the six Scholar Houses already located across the state. Other scholar houses locations include Louisville and Newport.

The Scholar House program in Louisville has a 96 percent retention rate. More than 300 families have gone through Louisville’s Scholar House as of January. According to the program’s website, 100 percent of these families have exited the program to stable housing.

Jacob Lange is a journalism senior at the University of Kentucky.

The groundbreaking at the school in 1931, from Kenton County Library archives

The groundbreaking at the school in 1931, from Kenton County Library archives

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