William McDowell purchased the Reynolds School Property in Canton for $80,000 at auction last December. He wants to turn the one-story, 20,000-sq-ft facility into a community center. The school was built in 1930, and it was located next to McDowell’s home. He attended the African-American school in the days of segregation; his mother was a cook there, and his grandfather was president of the football booster program. After McDowell grew up, he owned jewelry stores and worked in the real estate business, eventually moving to Las Vegas where he now runs an artist development company. He also married soul legend Gladys Knight. They bought a home in Fairview in 2005, and when McDowell returned to his old school, he found it serving as a storage shed, the grounds overgrown with weeds. McDowell felt the need to restore the sense of community he once felt. Not only did people maintain their yards, he noted, “everybody had the ability to nurture without question. You just felt like you were surrounded by people who love you.” He will host several community meetings to gauge the community’s will for the property, but he envisions setting up classrooms for his wife to teach music classes and kids to take etiquette courses. He also wants to set up a track where the elderly may walk safely. He hopes to host a fundraiser concert later this year to help pay for renovations and operations.