On Monday, it marks a big milestone for the city of Franklin and the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN. The Heritage Foundation officially took ownership of the former campus of O’More College of Design at 423 S. Margin Street in historic downtown Franklin. In a press conference at the property, the Foundation’s board of directors, advisory boards, staff and community partners gathered for some other key announcements.
“The purchase of this campus is a tremendous accomplishment, being that it is the largest preservation project in the 52-year history of our organization,” said Heritage Foundation CEO, Bari Beasley. “With the help of our generous donors and lending partner, FirstBank, we will be able to restore the historic integrity of the property, create a community asset and provide a place to experience preservation, arts, and education.”
Heritage Foundation Board President David Garrett went on to announce, “To ensure the vision for this project is implemented in a timely manner and community input is appropriately included, the Foundation has appointed a new campus advisory committee made up of Williamson County leaders:
- Danny Anderson, managing broker for Parks Real Estate Services and Heritage Foundation board member
- Tom Atema, owner of the Atema Partners Family of Companies (AP Live, OCD Labs and Media Visions)
- Bari Beasley, CEO of the Heritage Foundation
- John Bond, owner of Twine Graphics & Screen Printing and design chair of the Downtown Franklin Association, a division of the Heritage Foundation
- Tracy Frist, educator, farmer, historic property owner and Heritage Foundation board member
- David Garrett, family law attorney and Heritage Foundation board president
- Matt Largen, CEO of Williamson, Inc.
- Calvin LeHew, preservationist, community leader and Heritage Foundation donor
- Emily Magid, Heritage Foundation board member, volunteer and donor
- Alma McLemore, president of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County
- Sharon McNeely, preservationist and community leader
- Mayor Ken Moore, Mayor of the City of Franklin and retired doctor
- Ellen More, community leader
- Sondra Morris, former educator and owner of RNM Management and Properties
- Ed Silva, attorney and two-term past president of the Heritage Foundation board of directors
- Ellie Westman-Chin, president and CEO of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau”
“These leaders represent diverse perspectives but with the common thread of a love for this community,” said Garrett. “As we approach a project of this magnitude, it’s important to have a group of people who have the Heritage Foundation’s and our community’s best interests and vision in mind.”
In addition to the advisory committee, the Foundation is investing new and existing staff resources into the project. They are currently recruiting for a new project management role, director of campus planning and business development, to oversee this large restoration project. Working alongside the new project manager and CEO Bari Beasley, current staff members supporting the project initially include, Jill Burgin, executive director of the Main Street program; Wendy Dunavant, senior director of finance and administration; Meg Hershey, senior director of marketing and community engagement Miriam Wiggins, executive assistant and office operations manager; and Blake Wintory, Ph.D., director of preservation.
The non-profit Heritage Foundation plans to restore and rehabilitate the seven-acre site into a multi-use campus with new educational offerings, publicly displayed collections, beautiful gardens, unique private event space, and Williamson, Inc. will create the Idea Center, an innovation and entrepreneurship hub in the Victorian mansion on the property.
For more information about the Heritage Foundation or to apply for the new director of campus planning and business development position, visit WilliamsonHeritage.org.