Hampton Students Liven Up Downtown Building Set for Demolition

Some students in Hampton are painting the town!

Students with Kecoughtan High School’s art academy painted the former Dixie Diggs, located at the corner of Pembroke Avenue and King Street.

The building was recently acquired by the Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) and is slated for demolition, but before then, the city wanted to showcase students’ art in the downtown area.

“The Academies are about making connections and getting students involved in their communities,” said Christina Kerby, a biology teacher who coordinates the Architecture & Applied Arts Governor’s STEM Academy at the school.

After the building was bought, Yvonne Hodges, HRHA’s real estate manager, arranged for window-sized boards to be cut and delivered to the Kecoughtan art classes. They finished painting them earlier this week and were installed Wednesday.

Hodges hopes to take students to see their art, but that will have to wait until after spring break; academics come first!

“There is of necessity a lag between the purchase of a property and its demolition or renovation, and during that time we have to secure the property. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun place-making elements to make it more attractive,” City Manager Mary Bunting said.

She hopes this will also stimulate private owners of vacant properties as well.

The building will be torn down later this spring, so the art installation there won’t be up long. However, the boards will be saved to be used at other places in the future.

As for what will happen to the property in the future, the city is studying the traffic flow at the intersection, which offers only one lane heading north on King Street. Officials are working to determine if it should be widened. If so, that would only require a portion of the property.