Dunbar School – UNDER CONTRACT

  • 301 Smith Ave.
    USA Lexington , NC 27295
    Davidson County
  • $310,000
  • 84,617 square feet
  • Lot Size: 10.03 acres / Zoning: TND (Traditional Neighborhood Development)

Cathleen Turner , Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
919-401-8540, cturner@presnc.org


Mid-century Modernist school available for adaptive use!

Architectural and Historical Information

Constructed for the African American Community before integration, the Dunbar School was named for Paul Lawrence Dunbar, an African American poet born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872. He was the son of former slaves and a classmate of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Though Dunbar only lived to be 33 years old, he was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays, as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike. Many schools across the nation reflect the Dunbar name.

The Dunbar School was constructed before integration and was an important part of the education of the African American community in Lexington. The initial building was constructed in 1951 in the Modernist style of architecture. There were additions made in 1957 and 1962 that continued this trend. The 1973 octagonal addition added more classrooms and a media center. There was also a large ramped hallway added during the 1973 addition to make the school handicapped accessible.

Located on 10 acres, the school was built in a rectangular fashion creating a spacious outdoor courtyard. Large steel windows allow an abundance of natural light to shine into the classrooms. There are approximately 30 classrooms, a media center/library, and a large auditorium able to accommodate over 500, a cafeteria that can accommodate in excess of 250, and a gymnasium. The building has remained unused since 2009. The school is heated with natural gas and has central air throughout with the exception of the auditorium, gymnasium and the large ramped hallway.

During its use as a school, the grounds included two tennis courts, a playground and a softball field, which were used after school hours as a city park and has been maintained by the City of Lexington.

The former school building and grounds welcomes a creative new use. Current zoning is Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) which allows the following with additional requirements: residential care home, apartments, and condominiums. This convenient location is between thriving Uptown Lexington and the growing shopping district along Interstate 85.

Click here to view the pdf brochure for the Dunbar School

Click here to view Dunbar School site plan

Area Information

Lexington is located in the Piedmont of North Carolina. It has a population of approximately 20,000, and is located on the Interstate 85 corridor between Greensboro and Charlotte. It is the county seat of Davidson County. Its Uptown area has a beautiful historic downtown with quaint shops and restaurants. Lexington is home to internationally know artist Bob Timberlake. It is also home to Childress Vineyards owned by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress. Greensboro (to the northeast on Interstate 85) and Winston-Salem (to the north on Highway 52) are both short commutes. Charlotte is located less than 1 hour south on Interstate 85.