Restoration of Melrose High building brings hope to Orange Mound community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Restoration and new life are in the works to be brought to a historic building in Orange Mound.

City leaders detailed the two-year process and $10 million plans for the old Melrose High School earlier this month.

It’s more than a building. If you ask legacy residents of the historic Orange Mound neighborhood, they’ll tell you they still consider it to be a beacon light in a community that once shined the brightest.

Dr. Lawrence Madlock is a 1966 Graduate of Melrose who walked the halls of the old building. He says the rehab of the building will bring the wealth and growth back to Orange Mound.

“As we get rid of the blight, we got to do something with this building. It’s on the historical registry,” Madlock said

Over the course of the next two years, the old Melrose High School will be converted into a library and genealogy center with apartments for seniors on the upper floors.

In 1938 the building housed the high school in Memphis for nearly 40 years. During that time, Orange Mound saw monumental growth and wealth in the area.

“I think so because the natural cycle of a city people move out and then move back,” Madlock said.

Recently the City of Memphis released plans for several multimillion-dollar plans for areas surrounding Orange Mound, like the Liberty Park area near the Liberty Bowl.

Along with the library, floor plans for the old Melrose High School’s proposed changes show 14 apartments, a fitness center, and a movie room.

“If we rebuild this as the cultural and spiritual center of Orange Mound, you will see the financial benefits from that. People will stay, and people will continue to own homes,” Madlock said.

The city plans to break ground early next year and have the project completed by the end of 2023.