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  • CR4.17 Dunbar School

    Total Actual Cost: $1,217,989
    Project Number: CSUDUNBAR
    Funding Sources: 2004 General Obligation Bonds
    Completion Date: March 2011
    Managing Dept.: Cultural Resources & Historic Preservation
    Project Map: GIS Map

    The Dunbar School was constructed in 1918 for the purpose of educating Tucson’s African-American students. Children in grades 1st through 9th attended Dunbar until 1951, when segregation was eliminated from the Arizona school systems. Dunbar then became the non-segregated John Spring Junior High School that continued to operate until 1978 when the school was permanently closed.

    The Dunbar Coalition purchased the property from the Tucson Unified School District in 1995, and began repairs to the buildings with the intention of creating an African-American Museum and Cultural Center. There has been widespread support for the project, and both the City of Tucson and Pima County have contributed funding for the project. The Dunbar School is a listed building in the John Spring Neighborhood Historic District that forms part of the John Spring Multiple Resource Area, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    The original 1918 Dunbar School was designed by prominent Tucson architect Henry O. Jaastad, who also designed all of the additions to the school of 1921, 1930, 1935, 1940 and 1948.

    Following the Master Plan developed in 1996, the Dunbar Coalition has steadily developed plans for rehabilitation of the school. Using these plans together with 2004 bond funding, Pima County worked with the Dunbar Coalition to set priorities for the needed improvements. Structural issues with the roof, lack of accessible entry, lack of security, broken windows and doors, ailing exterior stucco, and non-functioning restrooms were identified as the deficiencies most in need of treatment. With complete exterior rehabilitation now completed to this 1918 building, future improvements are planned for its interior classrooms, offices, library, and meeting rooms to make the Dunbar School a fully functioning neighborhood asset that will serve the entire Tucson community.

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