The Coal Pit Story

Our Story

The Coal Pit Learning Center takes its name from the historic Coal Pit School, the century-old schoolhouse in which the current Center operates. The original school was built in 1905 to serve the African American coal mining families in Glen Allen and western Henrico County. The building operated in this form until 1955, at which time its functions were assumed by the Henrico County public school system. The school eventually closed and the building was left vacant for years.
In 1976, Henrico County permitted Ms. Dorothy Gallimore to reopen the building as the Coal Pit Learning Center. As the founder, she began with a mission to provide children from low-income families with the educational skills necessary to succeed in school. At the time, the poverty in the surrounding community was rampant. There were no paved roads, and many families did not have electricity, running water, or modern plumbing. The schoolhouse itself was in dire need of repair. “Ms. Dorothy”, as her students fondly refer to her, scraped up any resources she could find in an effort to save the school. Her persistence and determination to help the community was a success as she was able to gather the help and resources necessary to turn Coal Pit Learning Center into what it is today. During that time, she also helped families repair their homes and improve their living conditions.

In the fall of 2010, thanks to our friends at the Rotary Club of Innsbrook and the generous support of additional donors and volunteers, the Coal Pit Learning Center was able to expand its facilities to more than double its original square footage. The renovation and expansion included a brand new kitchen, main office, bathrooms, and a large multi-use classroom. This allowed Coal Pit to serve more children on a full-time basis rather than their original part-time schedule.

Ms. Dorothy has dedicated over 35 years of her life to helping children and families escape the devastating cycle of poverty. Under her supervision, the school has grown and flourished. The Coal Pit Learning Center faculty, staff, and board members have helped over 1,000 students graduate from preschool and successfully continue their education.