Norwich pledges $50,000 to help renovate Northfield's Gray Building

Northfield's Gray BuildingNorwich University has shown support for a good cause in the Northfield community by pledging $50,000 to the Gray Building Coalition. A group of volunteers that formed in the fall of 2001, the Coalition is working to restore an historic graded school in the center of town and develop it into a community center.

Norwich has maintained a strong commitment to leadership development and community service since the founding of the University in 1819.

"Contributing to the Gray Building project is further proof of Norwich's dedication to youth, service and pride in community," said Kerri Hoffman of the Coalition.

Since closing its bright red doors in 1994, the Gray Building, located on a hill overlooking North Main Street, has been vacant. During this time, the 10,000 square foot, two-story building suffered substantial neglect and deterioration. This majestic edifice with a proud history of community use and enjoyment was in danger of becoming a hazard to public health, safety and welfare and an attractive nuisance for delinquency and crime.

"As a member of the Northfield Community, Norwich University is proud to be able to assist with the restoration of the Gray Building," said Norwich President Richard W. Schneider. "I believe it is important to support projects that benefit the community, while also preserving the town's heritage. I would also like to recognize the role of the volunteer leadership that made this restoration possible. This dedicated group of volunteers is helping to make Northfield a better place for all of us."

The Gray Building Coalition purchased the building in July 2003 after a feasibility report, funded by the Vermont Community Development Program, confirmed that the building is structurally sound.

"The Gray Building is part of the fabric of Northfield, and has served as a cornerstone of community activity for generations," said Annie Gould, president of the Coalition. "We applaud Norwich University for seeing the value of this project. Norwich not only understands the importance of saving an historic treasure, but they also see how this will stimulate economic development."

Renovations will continue throughout the summer in preparation for the first floor tenants, who are expected to occupy the building by September 1. To date, $913,000 has been raised from federal, state and philanthropic sources. Total costs to renovate the building over two years are expected to be $1.3 million.

The public is invited to attend an Open House on the afternoon of Sunday, September 26., July 2004

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