I was up in the Delta recently and swung through Inverness on my way back to Jackson from Indianola. I had heard that one of my favorite Delta schools, the old Inverness School and more lately the Central Delta Academy, might be closing or already closed and I wanted to check it out.
It was getting on toward evening, but as I walked around the building, a very helpful lady came walking past with her dog and offered me the chance to go inside, something no one ever needs to ask me twice. She confirmed that this last school year had been the final class at Central Delta Academy, which has closed due to declining enrollments and population in general.
The Academy occupied three historic buildings, including a two-story administration building designed by Jackson architect N.W. Overstreet in 1924. A stucco or concrete gymnasium–didn’t really get close enough to it because it was getting late by the time I finished inside the main building–that looks probably late 1930s or possibly immediately post-WWII and a tan-brick vocational building probably from the early 1950s complete the campus.
All the buildings appeared to have been well-maintained over the years and are in good condition. The lady who let me in said that just in the past couple of weeks, all the contents had been auctioned off and the school would officially cease to exist in August. She said the trustees were talking about just tearing it all down, but that other people in town were trying to come up with a way to save it. I hope they can, and maybe these pictures will inspire someone out there to bring new life to this great Delta school campus.
One thing I would suggest looking into is whether the deed to the property has a reverter clause. This was the school for white students until desegregation in 1969, and as I understand it (and as happened elsewhere), the white campus was practically turned over to the new private academy. If the deed was written like lots of school property deeds in the past though, there might be a clause that stipulates that the property will revert to the original owner, presumably the city or county, whenever it ceases to be used for educational purposes.
Let’s hope for the best for this campus and for Inverness–it’s worth saving if only there is a will (and money) to do it.