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Photo courtesy of WBRC TV

Abandoned Birmingham middle school to get new life as trade school

L. Frazier Banks Middle School, an abandoned school in Birmingham, Ala., is going to get a much-needed makeover. The Birmingham Board of Education closed the school in 2006, but Marvin Brice Smith, Jr. plans to convert it into a trade school, WBRC TV reported.

Graffiti currently covers the walls of the former middle school auditorium, but Smith says that the building has good bones.

Smith plans for the state-of-the-art Goal Institute of Construction Technology and the Arts to open in the facility.

"We’ll have a master electrician, a master of HVAC system. I build furniture so we're actually going to be building furniture here. [We’re] also going to have a school of architecture here," Smith told WBRC, a local Fox News affiliate.

In addition, the school will use solar powered panels and a lighting system that Smith expects to conserve energy and money.

"We want the school to represent what the new age of building is going to be. Because they were ready to throw this building away and Mayor Bell was kind enough to come on board and say hey let's give them an opportunity to do it," Smith said.

Smith set the project up as a non-profit entity, and is waiting on the Birmingham City Council to grant him a lease with an option to buy the property.

"Once we have that, we can kick in the grant writers, they say you own the property, we can start getting all the monies we need but right now we're in the preliminary phases," Smith told WBRC.

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