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Fine arts fundraising ahead of schedule

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The bank account for the restoration of the old F. E. Burleson Elementary School is about $73,000 richer thanks to the success of the sixth annual Hartselle Historical Society silent auction and dinner benefit on April 15, plus several gifts and grants which were announced at that time.
"We're on a roll," said Amy Golden of the Hartselle Fire Arts Committee. "This means we're going to be able to move forward with the restoration project at a faster pace than what we had anticipated."
Golden said the $50 a seat dinner raised $13,575 and the silent auction brought in $5,415. Acknowledgement was made of a $5,000 state grant through the office of State Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts along with gifts of $2,300 and $1,000 from the Rainbow Garden Club and Dr. Angelo Mancuso, respectively. In addition, a $50,000 grant for the project was earmarked in the 2006-07 state budget through the efforts of Roberts and District Nine Rep. Ronald Grantland of Hartselle. The grant will be processed through the Alabama Historical Commission and will be available Oct. 1.
Golden said a $3,750 grant was recently received from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. She said it would be matched dollar for dollar with in-kind services provided by Underwood and Associates of Decatur, the firm that has provided architectural services for the project from its start.
"Gross receipts from the benefit, including grants, totaled $77,297," Golden said. "After expenses, the total is about $73,400. This brings to $290,000 the total amount of money we have raised for the restoration in the past six years."
The estimated cost of the project has been reduced from $3.2 million to $1.2 million, according to Golden. It is broken down into nine separate phases, as follows: Interior repairs and refinishing, $200,000 to $250,000; electrical system, $285,000; plumbing, $65,000; air conditioning, $198,000; fire sprinkler system, $40,000; sound system, $30,000; elevator, $125,000; seating, $75,000; and stage curtains and equipment, $75,000.
Golden said the next step in the restoration would be to remove all contemporary additions from the classrooms, offices and hallways of the building. The auditorium underwent a similar process several weeks ago. Golden said work release inmates from the Morgan County jail will be used to so the work.
"We'll get into other phases of the project when we have working plans from the architect," Golden said, "We're come a long way on this project already because of community participation. We need that support and involvement to continue in order for us to reach our goal in five years."