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Paint Rock Valley High School to reopen its doors as "communiversity"

The school closed its doors in 2018 – now it's being repurposed as a "communiversity" facility for Alabama A&M University (AAMU), ACES, and north Alabama residents
Credit: Paint Rock Valley High School

PRINCETON, Ala. — The Paint Rock Valley High School (Paint Rock) – which closed its doors in 2018 – is being repurposed as a communiversity facility for Alabama A&M University (AAMU), the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the residents of north Alabama. 

Paint Rock Valley High School was a K-12 school in the Jackson County School District. In May 2017, the Jackson County Board of Education voted to close the facility by the spring of 2018. Five years later — in June 2023 — the board voted to transfer ownership, including future property renovations, to AAMU for educational and community activities. It is one of the largest nonmonetary gifts in AAMU history.

 “The Jackson County Board of Education is excited about the possibilities this joint venture will bring to our county," said Chad Gorham, Jackson County Board of Education president. "This partnership allows students from all over Jackson County and beyond to explore, experience and learn in one of the most beautiful areas in the state. It will also breathe new life into the Paint Rock Valley community.

 As a much-loved school, Gorham hopes that county residents will feel an even deeper connection to the project. 

The Future of Paint Rock

 The Paint Rock Valley Collaboration Project (PRVCP) – which includes the Jackson County Board of Education, AAMU and Alabama Extension – will work alongside the Graham Farm and Nature Center, Jackson County Commission, Singing River Trails and other organizations to repurpose the facility and offer activities that include the following: 

• Extension programming, such as 4-H and environmental stewardship

• Small business and community development 

• Agricultural research, including forestry and small ruminants

 • Community fundraising 

“Working with the PRVCP is a chance for Alabama A&M and Alabama Extension to make Alabama better by expanding outreach to diverse audiences in north Alabama,” said Dweik, who also serves as AAMU vice president of research and economic development.

 Sims further added, “We look forward to planning and developing programs that will serve the people of Alabama and the Southeast. The PRVCP will seek additional partners to assist in its mission of educational outreach.” 

The Paint Rock facility is expected to reopen its doors in 2024.

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