The Hayden Village Center is the historic rehabilitation of the former Hayden High School and Jr. High School (circa 1953 to 1968) in rural Franklin, Virginia. It results from a partnership between Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia – the master tenant in the new building, and Luna Development Partners LLC.
The school was named after Della I. Hayden, the daughter of a freed slave. After graduating from Hampton University (then Hampton Institute) in 1877, returned to Southampton County (Franklin) to teach in the public schools. She went on to become the first lady principal at the State Normal School in Petersburg (now Virginia State University) but returned to Franklin and Southampton County in 1904, where she founded a small private boarding school for African American girls (the Franklin Normal and Industrial Institute). As the school grew, male students were eventually admitted during the day.
Della served as principal until her death in 1924. The land was sold to the Southampton County School Board in 1930, and Hayden High School for African American students was opened. The original school was replaced by a more modern building which opened in 1953. It served as a public high school until 1970, and then as a junior high school until it closed in 1986.
The Hayden Village Center was a venture of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, led by Luna Development to turn the historic high school into an affordable living for older adults, as well as a community center for the city of Franklin. The massive undertaking began in 2013 after Hayden High School was registered as a historic landmark by the Nation Register of Historic Places. After sitting for nearly 30 years, Hayden High School had a long way to go before becoming what it is today.
Renovations were completed in 2019 totaling approximately $6 million. Senior Services moved into its new home in Western Tidewater which created:
- 28 affordable living apartments for older adults
- Transportation hub for Senior Services I-Ride program
- Flexible space for the community, including a gym and two classrooms
- Commercial grade warming kitchen to support the Senior Service on-site Senior Center
- The Della Hayden Memorial Community Garden.
Before and After Photos: