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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Assistance From Public Sought For Old Rock School Renovation Efforts

The Historic Valdese Foundation announces a partnership with the Town of Valdese Community Affairs Department in the “Old Rock School Renovation Project,” planned for this Spring. In 2022, the Old Rock School was a recipient of a Rural Transformation Fund Grant from the North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center. The project will focus on renovations that will greatly improve accessibility and revamp the event venue, with efforts strongly focused on the auditorium.

The eastern Burke County facility was also awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for equipment upgrades, with a match from a local foundation. Funding secured, the Community Affairs Department has completed the planning phase and renovation plans with SGA|NW Architecture of Charlotte. Grant funds total $970,000 for construction and equipment and the Town of Valdese has committed an additional $216,000 for auditorium improvements.

The foundation is asking for the community’s help to replace the auditorium seating. The current seating was installed as part of the 1986 renovation project and unfortunately, grant funds cannot be used for the seating. After close to 40 years of use, the seating is showing considerable wear. The Historic Valdese Foundation is seeking the public’s help complete the auditorium makeover with the addition of new, ADA-approved seating.

For more than a century the historic Old Rock School has overlooked Main Street Valdese as a symbol of community and culture. For more than 50 years, students attended classes at the school. The structure was built stone by stone in 1922. It continues to welcome visitors daily and adorns the Waldensian style masonry that is unique to the town’s founders.

Today, the Old Rock School serves as a structure dedicated to celebrating history and heritage as well as the future. Each year, the building hosts numerous events averaging more than one per day and continues to share a unique culture that is so important to Valdese. Through the programming offered, people from all over the region are welcomed for artist’s workshops, recitals, dance performances, spelling bees, concerts, theatre productions and so much more.

For information and to find out how you can donate contact the Town of Valdese at 828-879-2120 or go to the town’s Facebook page.