MVSB has donated $5000 to Save Our Gale School (SOGS), a local volunteer preservation group dedicated to saving the historic Gale School, currently located behind Belmont Middle School. SOGS has already raised more than $330,000 in grants and donations to preserve the Victorian-style building, which was built in 1894.
The Gale School, which has stood empty since 1997, was named one of 2017’s “Seven to Save” by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, is also listed on the NH Register of Historical Places and was a school of various kinds for almost a century until 1984.
MVSB was able to contribute during the group’s final fundraising push to install a concrete foundation on a donated lot on Concord Street, where the three-story building is set to be re-located in July. To transport the building, it will be moved over a temporary road through the woods, down a hillside and then along and across Concord Street. Landowners affected by the move have agreed to allow SOGS to build the road and move the building across their properties.
SOGS will transfer the Gale School to Lakes Region Community Developers, who will restore and repurpose the school into a social services facility. “We’re very thankful for MVSB’s support and contribution to this project,” said Carmen Lorentz, Executive Director of Lakes Region Community Developers. “This project demonstrates how businesses, volunteers and local nonprofits can partner to accomplish extraordinary ideas.”
“We are very grateful to Meredith Village Savings Bank and their generous contribution to our final fundraising efforts,” said Woody Fogg, an active volunteer and member of the Save Our Gale School preservation group. “Child care agencies have expressed interest in using a portion of the renovated school. There has also been interest in establishing an elder day care facility in another section of the building. The social services to be offered will meet the ever-expanding needs of our community, especially the services shown to be so critical during the pandemic we are all navigating.”
“We’re happy to do all we can to contribute to this vital community project,” said Rick Wyman, President of MVSB. “The building is a beautiful piece of 126 year old history that is being relocated to meet the needs of the local community. The services that will be offered at the new Gale School will allow community members to go to training and work knowing that their loved ones are safely cared for.”
Save Our Gale School continues to accept donations and pledges of any size, as they need to raise another $40,000 to complete the project. They will also accept in-kind services, labor, materials and auction or raffle items. Checks can be sent to Save Our Gale School, c/o Brenda Paquette, Treasurer, 229 Dutile Road, Belmont, NH 03220. Businesses wishing to donate materials or services can contact Ken Knowlton, Vice Chairman of SOGS, at 603.848.2216 or Woody Fogg at 603.524.8268.
Lakes Region Community Developers helps the Lakes Region thrive by developing healthy homes, creating vibrant community assets and engaging residents. Founded in 1988 as the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, LRCD has developed 365 healthy and affordable rental homes in Ashland, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Tilton and Wolfeboro. In 2017, LRCD expanded their mission to include new types of real estate development and new programming that empower residents to effect positive change in their communities. For more information, visit lrcommunitydevelopers.org.