SURRY — Forty residents turned out for a flag raising ceremony Saturday morning at the old schoolhouse building, which is undergoing a rehabilitation.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent the Old Surry Village Schoolhouse Preservation Group a U.S. flag that had flown over the Capitol Building.
In April, Surry voters approved the group’s plans to rehabilitate the schoolhouse, which was built in 1872. The building is located near the intersection of Route 172 and 176.
“We want this to be a place where the town can use this building,” said organizer Glyneta Thomson. Thomson herself attended school at the building for one year in 1949.
The group envisions the space being used for community activities, workshops or rented for weddings and other parties. The rehabilitation plan includes installation of wireless Internet.
The schoolhouse group has two fundraising efforts in connection with the project.
One effort is to raise funds for the 144-year-old building’s rehabilitation. Donations for the rehabilitation should be sent to the town of Surry.
The second effort is to buy the residence next door, which was once part of the schoolhouse property.
That residence would be torn down to create a walking path around the schoolhouse building as well as a public park and picnic area. The group needs to raise $135,000 to buy the building. An anonymous donor has offered to match the first $20,000 raised.
The group also is forming a nonprofit organization to accept tax-deductible donations for the building’s purchase. Once that’s complete, the building will be given to Surry.
“The town of Surry has already agreed to accept the gift of the land from our group,” Thomson said.
“This project will not only preserve a historic building, it will create a beautiful setting in Surry Village at the corners of Route 172 and Route 176 and Newbury Neck Road,” Thomson said.
The organizer estimated that $200,000 would be needed to buy the house and do the rehabilitation work to the 1872 school building.
“Our priority is getting enough funding to buy the house,” Thomson said.
Donations may be sent to the Old Surry Village Schoolhouse Preservation Group at 1147 Newbury Neck Road, Surry, ME 04684.
Much of the work on the schoolhouse building is being done by volunteers, Thomson said.
Once a certain amount of rehabilitation is complete, the group will apply for the building to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
That designation will help the group obtain grant funding for further projects.
But first, “we need to have a historian come in and say this is what’s gone on with this building,” Thomson said. A historian would document details about the structure, including various paints and materials used in its construction and previous rehabilitation work.
In 2015, the Maine Historic Preservation Group included the schoolhouse building on its yearly list of the 10 most endangered historic sites in Maine.