A Community Partnership: The Renovation of the Sallie Ellis Davis House
In late 2008, former Georgia College & State University President, Dorothy Leland, and Carolyn Thomas, Chair of the Sallie Ellis Davis Foundation, announced that Georgia College would be embarking on an exciting partnership to renovate one of Milledgeville's historic homes. The Sallie Ellis Davis House was the former home of a local educator who touched the lives of hundreds of African-American children.
In October 2008, the House became one of ten sites on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's 2009 Places in Peril. Coinciding with this designation was Georgia College's announcement to form a partnership with the Sallie Davis Foundation – comprised of a group of the educator's former students – to renovate the house and open it as a historic home and cultural center.
The restoration was completed in two stages: stabilization, renovation and finally outfitting this historic property. The stabilization phase of the Sallie Ellis Davis House was a critical one. During this phase the inside of the house was cleaned and removed of debris, new brick piers were constructed, new steel work at the foundation was completed and the existing chimneys were removed to be rebuilt. The second phase, the renovation of the home, concentrated on the roofing, foundation work, framing, exterior carpentry, the construction of the rear addition, painting, plumbing and electrical work. Finally the home was outfitted with historic furnishing, including a few pieces from Ms. Davis herself. The modern classroom and meeting areas were equipped with modern technology and a banquet kitchen to accommodate events.
This project provided Georgia College with a prime opportunity to further develop the relationship between the university and the local community. The Sallie Ellis Davis House is now open and its successful outcome was contingent upon a strong relationship between Georgia College and larger Milledgeville. Thank you to all who believed in this project and continue to support it to this day.
A special thank you goes to Garbutt-Christman Construction Corporation for the support and leadership of this project.