Less than an hour after Pembroke City Council voted to accept the Bryan County Board of Education’s donation of the Dingle School, longtime councilman Johnnie Miller took a quick tour of the grounds for the benefit of a reporter.
“I was right here in a classroom when we learned Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated,” recalled Miller, who also remembered far happier times at what was once the county’s school for Black children in Pembroke and North Bryan.
Built in 1949 and later expanded, the school known by locals by the name of its only principal, Leon Dingle, at one point had its own gym and cafeteria, and also served as home to Pembroke High School, where Miller excelled in sports for the Tigers until his junior year before integration began in 1969 and Miller transferred to Bryan County High School.
The campus itself later became Bryan County Middle School, and these days is home to Bryan County Head Start and Pembroke’s Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority office.
The school sits on 4.1 acres and has a tax value of $288,600, according to the tax assessor’s website, and what comes next from the city’s perspective is unclear.
Monday’s vote to accept the property was historic, both Miller and Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook said, but it was just another step in a long process. The plan now is to get former students involved with helping to preserve the history the Dingle School represents and to turn it into a museum or learning center, officials said.
“I’m excited about it, the council is excited about it. We’ve been working on getting this done for 20 years,” Cook said. “It’s not going to happen in one day’s time, but the start will be for us to take possession of it and go from there.” In other business Monday, Pembroke city council: Approved a request from Public Safety Director Bill Collins to spend approximately $2,000 to buy security cameras and equipment for the skate park near the teen center.
The park has been the site of ongoing vandalism, Collins said.
Agreed to help the DDA purchase a Christmas tree for approximately $9,000 with the DDA paying a portion through fundraising.
Announced Pembroke Night Out is from 6 to 8 p.m. July 27 at the J. Dixie Harn Community Center.
Announced hearings at City Hall on the 2021 millage rate on July 19 at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and again Aug. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
The rate is 10 mills, which is same as last year.
Because of increases in the digest homeowners will likely see higher assessments.