Smyth County’s first public high school was built in Marion in 1908. It subsequently served as an elementary school, the School Board’s Central Office, a public library, and a museum. In 2010, the building underwent the first phase of its renovation as a school to promote traditional Appalachian music and handicrafts; this phase, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, restored the building’s exterior to approximate its original appearance.
In 2014, a major interior renovation was undertaken which converted the ground floor level to shops for woodworking, instrument-making, cooking/canning, and printmaking. The first floor has a reception area, a gift shop, offices, and studios. The second floor has classrooms and offices for The Summit, which provides a Smyth County campus for the Virginia Community College System. The original auditorium/physical education space on this level will provide a small performance space. The Town of Marion, on behalf of the School, applied for and received renovation grants from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and from the Appalachian Regional Commission for this phase of construction.