The Booker T. Washington Community Center began as the first Black High School in the Upper Kanawha Valley in December, 1925. It remained so until 1956 when Cedar Grove High School was built. In 1956, the school was integrated and became Grant Junior High and Elementary School. Later, the school became Grant Elementary when Cedar Grove High was expanded to include grades 7-12. Grant Elementary continued to serve the Riverside, Hugheston, London and Cannelton areas as an elementary school until 1985, when all of the elementary students transferred to Cedar Grove Community School Grades K-9.
After the closure of Grant Elementary School, a group of Booker T. Washington High School graduates came together to save this facility. The facility re-opened in November, 1989 as the Booker T. Washington Memorial Community Education Center. They continued to operate this facility with Drug Free Programs, Senior Citizen activities, game room and athletic games in the Gymnasium until early in the 2000’s. As the membership of the Association became older, the activities they once sponsored at the Center ceased. This organization received funding from former Alumni, local businesses, the Claude-Worthington Benedum Foundation, Kanawha County Commission Coal Severance, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and West Virginia State University.
In May, 2015 a group of former Grant Elementary Alumni became concerned with the Center no longer being utilized. After a meeting with the WHAA, we were permitted to begin renovation of this facility so it could once again be used by all in the Upper Kanawha Valley. In February, 2016 we were granted our 501c (3) Non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service and the State of WV.
Through donations from individuals the UKVSAC has been able to
“keep the lights on”. We received funding in March, 2018 from the Kanawha County Commission Coal Severance Tax Fund. From those funds we have been able to renovate the gymnasium, purchase a shed to hold our lawn equipment that we use to maintain the Community Center grounds and the William A. Parks MultiComplex, placing a concrete pad on the picnic shed on the Community Center grounds, and the reconstruction of the handicap ramp at the entrance to the center. A firewall has been placed between the kitchen and the stairwell. We have also received help from the Mount Olive Correctional Facility Release Center, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Department of Health and Human Services (Fayette County) and countless hours of volunteer service from the UKVSAC Board of Directors.