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Restoration of schoolhouse becoming a reality

ST. GEORGE When Lori Ring began searching for the deed to the one-room St. George Schoolhouse a year ago, she never thought to look in the attic. Last August, at the Chittenden County Historical Societys annual award meeting, Ring a local business owner and organizer of the Hinesburg Wrestling Club was awarded $1,000 to research the schoolhouse. It was her hope to preserve the building and make it useful once again for the town. Ring said that her first goal was to locate the buildings deed so that she could acquire it for St. George. Half-a-year later, Ring had no leads as to where the deed might be. Luck, however, proved to be on her side. It took me over six months of interviewing people and still nothing, said Ring. Then, somebody found it. That somebody was the wife of a former select board member who happened to live just a few steps away from the St. George Town Hall. She was cleaning her attic, and just came across it one day, noted Ring. Not wanting to take a piece of history from the woman, Ring instead photographed the relic and took her findings to the Chittenden South Supervisory Union. CSSU turned the deed over to St. George, and the board decided to give the deed to a nonprofit organization. So I went ahead and created a nonprofit organization, said Ring. And thats how the St. George Schoolhouse Restoration Society came to be. With Rings help, SGSHRS obtained a parcel of town land, complete with land, water and sewer rights. Ring said that it was necessary to acquire land because the deed only applied to the schoolhouse. There were so many heirs to the deed of the land that we didnt want to deal with that, she added. But they didnt own the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse currently rests next to the Town Hall off of Barber Road. According to Ring, it will take at least two years before the schoolhouse is refurbished and ready to use. An assessment performed by the Jeremiah Parker Company estimated that restoring the building would cost approximately $250,000. No timeline for restoration has been established. Right now, we need to get some funds coming in, said Ring. So my role has switched from researcher to fundraiser. On Aug. 10, SGSHRS is inviting former students of the schoolhouse to stop by the new location to share stories and photos at 10 a.m. Volunteers will also be cleaning up the property. A pot luck lunch will take place, rain or shine. Ring noted that the organization is seeking grant writers to help with fundraising efforts, and that anyone who wishes to help out can contact her at 802-482-3747. For related news, see Letters to the Editor this week.

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