Dunbar School – UNDER CONTRACT

  • 301 Smith Avenue
    USA Lexington , NC 27295
    Davidson County
  • $200,000
  • 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 (all of which should be assessed by the buyer) throughout with the exception of the auditorium, gymnasium and the large ramped hallway.

The former tennis courts, playground and softball field (modified by the city with new equipment) on the school parcel is currently leased to the City of Lexington and used as a city park. 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.

Nearby major employers include Atrium Windows & Doors, EGGER Wood Products, and soon Seimens Mobility. This convenient location is between thriving Uptown Lexington and the growing shopping district along Interstate 85. The property is being sold subject to protective covenants and a rehabilitation agreement.

The Dunbar School is on the Study List for the National Register of Historic Places but is not yet listed. If listed, it would become eligible for historic preservation tax credits. In North Carolina, both state and federal income tax credits are available for the certified rehabilitation of historic structures. For the rehabilitation of income-producing certified historic structures, a 20% federal income tax credit and a tier based state income tax credit are available. For more information on Historic Preservation Tax Credits, please contact the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office at 919-807-6570 or at www.hpo.ncdcr.gov.

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 known artist Bob Timberlake. It is also home to Childress Vineyards owned by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress. Greensboro (northeast on Interstate 85) and Winston-Salem (north on Highway 52) are short commutes away. Charlotte is located less than 1 hour south on Interstate 85.

Click here to view the pdf brochure for the Dunbar School

Click here to view the protective covenants for the Dunbar School

Click here to view additional documents for the Dunbar School including an environmental assessment, flood map, site plan and floorplans, and a survey of the parcel