One such historical spot is the area around the Ohyundan. The Ohyundan itself is a memorial to the five scholars of Jeju. These scholars are people that, throughout Jeju’s history, helped ensure Jeju residents would have access to education.
Where our story start, however, is in a building just below the Jeigak tower. This old looking black stone building fits right in with the architecture of the nearby fortress as it is built using the same black stones. However, visitors with a keen eye will be sure to notice a sheen to what looks like newly installed windows.
The building itself has a long history of education as it used to be Ohyun High School (the school is named in respect to the five scholars of Jeju). This high school was the first modern school on Jeju and, in fact, it still exists in its current location a little further east close by to Sarabong.
The school opened in 1946 and stayed in its location nearby the Ohyundan until 1972. After closing, the building was rented out for various activities including as a taekwondo academy.
However, since the school closed it never had a permanent owner and despite the undoubted historical significance of the building, it slowly fell into disrepair. By the time the WCO decided to take it on as a cultural space, it had been empty for five years.
One of the reasons for this is that the owner of the building wanted to ensure that any future use of the building would fit with the tradition of the building and area. He wanted to ensure that it would continue to be used as a place that could benefit the public, just like the five scholars did all those years ago.
Once the owner had decided to allow the WCO to use the space, it became clear that there would have to be some significant renovation to the building to keep it useable. As a building of such importance, this was no easy task and each step had to go through the Cultural Advisory Board to ensure the building and the surrounding area would not be damaged.
The exterior renovations were finally finished in March 2017 and the building was opened, although interior renovations are still being carried out.
Since opening, the space has been used for a number of community and culture based activities.
These are all activities that continue the building’s tradition of being used as a space for the public good. By giving Jeju residents a space to use, the W Stage hopes to improve people’s access to cultural activities.