BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — A school has a way of bringing people together, and, since the 1950s, Carrie Gass and other alumni have been gathering on Cedar Lane at the old Dennis High School.
"I'm a 1953 graduate," Gass said. "It has been a beacon to the citizens of Lee County from the very beginning because everything was centered around the school.”
Today, it's a community center, but it was the first high school for African Americans in Lee County.
It's a history they're hoping to preserve.
"We need painting, we need flooring… we need a refrigerator," Gass said.
The heating and air conditioning system is also in need of an upgrade.
It's relief they, and other nonprofits, could soon see as Bishopville begins receiving it's portion of federal coronavirus relief funds going to communities around the country.
"Our total allocation is going to be 1.5 million," City Administrator Gregg McCutchen said. "We’ve got two parks and they’ve just got dirt walking tracks around them and we’re going to make those asphalt … and light them.”
They're also allocating funds toward grants worth up to $7,500 for churches and nonprofits.
"… things that are already helping the people therefore, why don’t we help them a little bit?," McCutchen said.
More federal relief funds could be on the way, with the passage of new infrastructure legislation.
Gass said they've applied for a grant. Being awarded would mean a chance to help restore history.
“I really don’t have words to express how I would feel, because I can tell you right now it would be like a euphoria," Gass said. "I would be so happy and so appreciative.”
Those interested in applying for a grant can apply through February 10 at City Hall at 135 E. Church Street.