From a Brownfield to a Catalyst of Health

From a Brownfield to a Catalyst of Health
February 5, 2018

Built in 1957, Howardville High School was once a modern and exemplary public high school in rural Missouri. After it closed in 1985, it remained a vacant brownfield despite three attempts by the community to redevelop the site. But now, thanks to the efforts of Howardville Community Betterment (HCB)—led by Culture of Health Leader Vannessa Frazier—the school will get a new purpose as it is transformed into a Rural Federally Qualified Community Health Center to bring services to an area with little access to health care.   

Howardville Community Betterment was recently featured by a real estate/reuse publication, “Brownfield Listings,” because of its efforts to revitalize the Howardville school.

“Beyond cleaning up the building and making it safe, Vannessa and the HCB had a bigger vision: to preserve the high school and simultaneously return it to its prominent role as a positive catalyst for the whole region.”

The new health center will provide tele-health, telemedicine, disease prevention and health promotion, and other medical services to the 300 residents of Howardville and residents of the surrounding five counties. With its historical components intact, the remodeled and energy-efficient space will also provide job creation and training, exercise space, and a disaster shelter, and serve as a communications network, museum, and youth/senior media center for the region.  

“In the middle of the five-county Bootheel region, the size and location of this redevelopment opportunity could benefit the community and surrounding area in myriad ways. Acknowledging its storied past, it [has been] listed on the historical register. Looking to the future, the restored building would help anchor the rural region as a community and health center as well as a hub for education and job training. The environmental cleanup [has used] as many local contractors and employees as possible to give an economic boost to Howardville and the region. And the work [has been] documented to serve as a model and to educate others on how they could work similar turnarounds in their communities.”

Learn more about Vannessa Frazier and Howardville Community Betterment by visiting her page.