- Associated Press - Sunday, February 2, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Lanier High School will get a $500,000 grant to help restore nearly 600 original windows at the landmark school in Jackson.

The Clarion-Ledger reported (http://on.thec-l.com/MmXilh) the grant was part of more than $900,000 in grants recently awarded by Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Lanier High’s grant falls under the program’s new landmark school grant program, which specifically assists historic public schools still in active use as schools.

Lanier High was designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2007.

Architectural historians say the school’s large windows are definitive of a mid-20th century style.

Aileen de la Torre, architectural historian for the Department of Archives and History, said the windows have uncommon features. “They’re steel, they’re high-quality material that you’re not going to find anymore - not at any sort of price that you can afford, in this case.”

The grant money will help restore 597 original windows.

Lanier, Jackson’s oldest high school still in operation, moved to its current Maple Street location in 1954.

The school was designed by architects James Manly Spain and Boyce Biggers, a father/son-in-law team whose work includes more than 25 buildings in the Jackson area. Among them are Fondren Presbyterian Church and G.N. Smith Elementary School.

Lanier’s historical significance includes a 1963 student walkout protesting the treatment of Tougaloo College students at a Woolworth store sit-in.

Window restoration will include glazing to create an energy-efficient seal while maintaining historical integrity, scraping sashes, repainting and caulking.

The pool of money set aside for grants to help schools targets a nationwide problem of deteriorating older schools.

“Older schools are being forgotten, and neighborhood schools are shutting down and a lot of schools are consolidating,” de la Torre said.

Also in this grant round, the Houlka Attendance Center in Chickasaw County was awarded $227,073 for replacement of metal windows with historically accurate wood windows.

“A lot of these older schools were the center of the community, and they’re good buildings. They just need some help. And unfortunately, they haven’t received help in the past,” de la Torre said. “We essentially wanted to put our money where our mouth is, and actually support these schools any way we can.”

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