The Loudoun County Department of General Services is soliciting proposals from interested parties to serve as a resident curator for the historic Union Street School property under the terms of the county’s Resident Curator Program (RCP).
The RCP is designed to reduce the public costs associated with the care and preservation of historic properties by enabling groups or individuals to take over those responsibilities, while providing periodic public access to the properties. The properties are leased long-term to the curators without charge, in exchange for a financial and public access commitment by the curators. Properties that can be included in the RCP have been deemed historically significant and either meet the county’s established criteria of eligibility for curation or meet the National Historic Register criteria.
The two-story Union Street School, located at 20 Union Street, NW in Leesburg, is the first county property to be included in the RCP. It opened in 1884 as the Leesburg Training Center, which served Black students in elementary through high school at various times during its history. The school closed in 1958 after the opening of Douglass High School in Leesburg, the county’s first high school for Black students, and the opening of a consolidated elementary school in Leesburg that served the county’s Black students. It is being nominated for inclusion in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ Historic African American Sites.
For 60 years, the building served as a storage facility for Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) before it was declared surplus. LCPS transferred the property to the county in 2019, and in 2021, the Board of Supervisors created a project in the county’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to rehabilitate the building. While the rehabilitation component of this project will be funded by the CIP, the county is now seeking proposals from organizations and/or groups for the express purpose of operation, management, preservation and maintenance of the facility.
A curator can be a private citizen, a nonprofit entity, or a for-profit entity. The proposed rehabilitation must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and the curator must provide “reasonable public access” to the property.
Curators will be determined through an open and competitive process based on several criteria, including a commitment to the management and maintenance of the historic property, a use that is compatible with the nature of the property, and the resources, skills and financial capabilities necessary to carry out the proposed curatorship.
The deadline for submitting proposals for the Union Street School property is January 24, 2022. To learn more, visit loudoun.gov/unionstreetschool.
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