The Mountain Home Center Today
Several years ago the Bland County School Board purchased a house and four acres of land adjacent to the school to develop a technology center. The Board in collaboration with the place-based technology classes developed a fundraising initiative for the new Mountain Home Center Project. In January of 2009 the first phase is completed and the oral history and technology activities of the Bland County History Archives are moved into the second floor of the building. Photojournalism and World History and US and VA History classes are also taught in a technologically state of the art classroom.
The Mountain Home Center celebrates rural life in Bland County, while at the same time functions as a center for school and community technology learning and related activities. The school and community will mutually benefit when the students can work in a state-of-the-art facility. This point cannot be overemphasized. The pride students feel from participating in the place-based activities of this project is a powerful force in their lives, reinforcing their ties to the community. The students will produce quality work in which they have a stake, enhancing their education. The community and the school will be brought closer together as the project brings the history of the community into the classroom.
The oral history and technology activities of the Bland County History Archives have expanded to the Center. School and community-related web site work, media creation, technology education, and long-distance learning is now located in the upstairs of the building. The buildin houses a large server enabling storage of place-based media projects. There is a classroom with the latest multimedia equipment as well as broadband Internet access. The facilities will be available for after-school community use, such as long-distance learning courses and technology workshops. Trained students will help facilitate these activities.
Place-based science labs will be located downstairs. These labs will conduct student activities including stream monitoring, a weather station project, and local flora and fauna cataloguing. The environmental projects are almost limitless, due to the ideal location (see below). The school can immediately establish a base of data from which many environmental changes that might have an health impact can be monitored. Further, the county will plan installation of community wireless zone that would emanate from the center, connecting every citizen to the available data.
The building grounds include four acres of land through which runs Laurel Creek, a stream stocked with trout by the state, which will provide science students an accessible body of water for their work. Recently the Bland County Board of Supervisors funded a community outdoor shelter and walking path with a budget of $75,000 that will be part of a larger vision to bring school and community together in a mutually beneficial manner. The Board plans to connect the park into walking paths through the town. Students will create historical and environmental walking tours as part of this endeavor.
Envision the following scene. Along the banks of the Laurel Fork youngsters are fishing for trout. Retired couples are strolling around the walking track, a group is having a picnic in the large shelter between the Mountain Home Center and the stream. A class is learning agronomy by the center using the greenhouse that adjoins it. Upstairs a class is being taught how to edit digital video while students are using the Archives room to check out audio interviews and transcripts for a mini documentary film they are making. Meanwhile, in another area a meeting on new additions to the county web site is being held with students and community members. Downstairs a class has just returned with stream samples that will be entered into a database as part of the Save our Stream Project. Later that night a documentary on the history of building the interstate tunnels will be presented to the community in the facility.
This project will not be isolated from the community in which it is located. Rather, it will be part of the very fabric of the community, and bridge the past and future with the present, where the young and the old meet to communicate about the issues which affect their place, their home.
- Movie Tour
- Phase One of Mountain Home is complete and the oral history and technology activities are centered on the second floor of the Mountain Home.
- Wythe-Bland Community Foundation grants $40,000 for technology and furnishings.
- USDA gives $25,000 technology grant.
- School Board approves first stage of project.
- WBCF Challenge Grant is issued for $25,000. We need your support. More info.
- Bland County School Board Supports Mountain Home Project by approving $150,000 matching money for renovation of building.
- Board of Supervisors and School Board fund Come Home Bland County oral history project.
- Bland Messenger carries story on Mountain Home project.
- Mountain Home Fund Drive announced.
What You Can Do to Help
Your help will be greatly appreciated.
Individual donations will be accepted at Rocky High School. Please make out checks to Rocky Gap High School and designate the Mountain Home Project as the recipient of the funds. Donors will be recognized for their contributions on a wall inside the new facility. All contributions of over $100.00 will receive an hour long dvd showing the story of the Bland County History Archives that includes several student produced videos that have resulted from the project.
Donations of photos, artifacts, and stories will, as always, be greatly appreciated.