The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon on the steps of the Abbey Leix mansion to announce they are pursuing the purchase of the property of the former O’More College of Design.
With a signed option agreement, the nonprofit organization plans to create a multi-use campus with a new robust educational program, expansive gardens and publicly available event space. The O’More College of Design was acquired earlier this year by Belmont University, and the institution’s students begin classes tomorrow at Belmont’s Nashville campus. The previous O’More campus, located at 423 S. Margin Street in the heart of downtown Franklin, remains vacant and for sale.
In making the announcement, Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley said, “We’re thrilled to have this incredible opportunity to purchase one of Franklin’s crown jewel properties and bring economic vitality back to this seven-acre campus.”
Once the sale closes, Belmont will use the funds from the purchase to cover costs associated with transitioning the O’More programs to Nashville, and all remaining funds will be placed in an endowed scholarship to support current and future students in Belmont’s O’More School of Design. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This is an exciting day. We are hopeful that we can celebrate the closing of this purchase in the near future, as it represents optimal preservation of this property. Clearly, we are excited about the vision the Heritage Foundation has and the ways in which it continues the history, traditions and educational legacy of this property.”
Heritage Foundation President David Garrett said, “Our CEO and Board of Directors are already at work identifying lead donors to participate in our capital campaign. Our goal is to maintain this campus as a place for education, community events and as green space in the heart of Franklin. We encourage donors interested in participating in this campaign to reach out to us.”
To participate in the capital campaign, contact Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley at [email protected].
About the Property
Located in the heart of downtown Franklin, the seven-acre campus includes the Abbey Leix Mansion, also known as the Winstead House, which was built c.1870 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is also a property in the Franklin Historic District.
About The Heritage Foundation
Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage and promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include the Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 public, private and homeschooled children each year through the Heritage Classroom program and walking tours of downtown Franklin. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to the county each year. For more information on the Heritage Foundation, visit https://williamsonheritage.org.