As everyone should know by now, the Friends of the Capital City Grange have ambitious plans to improve our basement level. After lots of planning and work, our grant application to the “Cultural Facilities Coalition” was approved in August, pledging 50% of the funding for our project. Other grants we’ve received, and generous donations from members of the Grange and dance communities have gotten a good start to the “matching funds” we need to go with the big grant. We’ve just gotten approval of a no-interest “bridge loan” from the VT State Grange to finance the construction until we get the project completed–because we don’t get the big grant until the work is successfully completed.
New bathrooms are the most obvious amenity of the updated basement, and will be a big improvement–a bigger space with 4 uni-sex private stalls, a spacious shared hand-washing space with a new water-fountain, plus a separate ADA “accessible” bathroom. That part of the project is planned for next spring, assuming the fundraising goals are met–see the article about the updated website for a link to donate directly!
The FCCGH decided that there was no reason to wait to get started with the other parts of the project, so we hired John Mallery to rebuild the fire exits from the basement. The picture below right shows the re-worked fire exit stairs at the NW corner of the building, which lead to a ground-level fire exit door. We have new storage space upstairs over the fire stairs. We have a new “vestibule” around the stairs which go from the lower level to the main Hall. And we’ve gotten preliminary approval from the Fire Marshal for an improvement in our basement level occupancy from 49 to 100–and expect a bit more soon, when he finishes his calculations. All of these are important steps forward to making us an attractive space for community use!