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, 2,019 students graduated from Bransford High School. Robertson County Schools began the process of desegregation in 1965, and by 1970 all African American students 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 it. 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.
Around this time, the Bransford Community Center board of directors was formed through Greater Faith Community Action Corporation, the same group that developed the Master's Table, to take over responsibility of the building and try to rebuild what was left. It was not feasible to salvage the gym, and it needed to be removed. Bransford Community Center's board leaned on the city to choose the contractor to begin the work, and a date was set.
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.
However, once the gym's demolishment began, dreams of renovating the building were shattered. Just a few tears into the gym, the building was quickly determined to be structurally unsound, leaving the Bransford Community Center no other choice than to have the city demolish the building.
Overnight, Bransford Community Center lost its home. The after-school program, Bransford Pride, essentially became homeless and was moved to the Bransford Elementary school. The program cannot currently serve all schools in the county due to its cramped location, therefore many children within the county are not able to attend the program which has proven to change grades, character, and lives
We are proud of offer our after-school program - Bransford Pride - at low costs for children in grades kindergarten through fifth in Robertson County.
Our Vision For The Future
Through Greater Faith Community Action Corporation (GFCAC), the Bransford Community Center board now works to raise awareness and fundraise for the future center and programs that it will house. All funds donated to the project are separated from Greater Faith Community Action Corporation in their own account dedicated to the Bransford Community Center construction fund.
We have raised money to build our own community center. The City of Springfield has graciously donated $1,000,000 to the cause, and we've also raised nearly $200,000 of our own money as well. We have chosen Southern States Construction for our contractor, and are in the process of finalizing designs. We expect to break ground by summer 2023.
While we are proud of the lives we've impacted to date- we have big dreams for the future and the opportunity to help countless more individuals that a facility of our own would allow.
Our state of the art center will also house:
Middle school programming
Vocational training for adults
Events and activities for local seniors
Satellite offices of our partners such as UT Extension, Willow Oak Arts, Springfield Police and more!