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Community Focus: The Page-Woodson Building

A room in the Page-Woodson Building. (KOKH)

The selling point for the newly renovated Page-Woodson Building, formerly known as the old Douglas High School, is "Where contemporary meets history".

There are chalkboards in the bedrooms, just down the hall you can find a modern kitchen, but the history still lives in the hallways.

Bruce Fisher a community historian explains how it all began in the early 1900s.

"There were two schools in the Bricktown area at one time. Fire destroyed both of them and a school called Lowell, a high school already established on 6th and High, was available and it was the first time the black school had gone into a major facility like that," Fisher said.

Fisher says a number of great Oklahoma leaders attended the school.

"Ralph Ellison, the great writer," Fisher said. "Who's a product of Oklahoma City's Douglass High School"

Alumnus include Inman E. Page, Langston University's first president, along with visits from jazz great Duke Ellington and singer Marian Anderson. The school shutdown in 1993 and was vandalized for decades.

"It's one of the most rewarding things I've every been involved with and I'm pleased and love to be apart of it." said developer Ronald Brandshaw.

Bradshaw says he and his son bought the school from the Oklahoma School Board and understand the purpose it served for the African American community.

'We recreated the auditorium under historical guidelines back to the way it looked some, back in 1911 when it was built ." Bradshaw said.

The building is not just for the people who live here..it's for the community. Like an old classroom that's been converted to a multi-purpose space. Bradshaw says three-floors include community spaces.

"Sometimes we don't like change because we are afraid of losing our culture and our history as a result to that" Fisher said. "But I'm glad to see that the interest is to maintain the awareness of what the school meant to African Americans."

The 28-million dollar renovation includes 60 affordable housing units, with more on the way.

If you're interested in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment you can't make more than 60 percent of the city's median income, which according to Forbes.com is $55,100 for Oklahoma City.

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