Grant funding supports historic Searles School and Chapel

TIM JEAN/Staff photo The historic Searles Chapel and School built in 1907 in Windham is getting support from a grant to aid in upgrades and restoration projects. 

WINDHAM — The historic The Searles School and Chapel is getting a financial boost thanks to a grant from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for Completion of a Conditions Assessment Report.

Searles School and Chapel was recently awarded a $4,500 grant from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. This grant will help further the Searles Board of Trustees' mission to preserve, protect, and facilitate the restoration of the historic Searles School and Chapel.

Thanks to the efforts of past and present Trustees, the support of the community, and the generosity of countless donors, the building has been available for use by a broad range of community organizations throughout town and a variety of renters. The restoration work proposed is an integral part of the Trustees plan to expand community use and to increase the Searles Special Revenue Fund which supports marketing and future restoration projects through rental revenue.

Betty Dunn, chairwoman of the Searles Trustees, thanked the donors.

“This assessment not only confirmed our recent conclusion that there was a need for immediate repairs to the tower and roof, but also gave guidance for prioritizing in our continued efforts to maintain and restore this beautiful building," she said. "Although the pandemic has limited the present use of the building, this assessment will help ensure that this town treasure will be available for the community to use for years to come.”

The Searles School and Chapel Trustees retained the Preservation Company and Martell Engineering Inc. to prepare a conditions assessment report. This report documents the history, evolution, and structural condition of the building, and identifies its character-defining features. It provides recommendations for further maintenance and treatment guided by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

This conditions assessment is funded in part by a 2020 grant from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, which receives support for its grants program from New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Rick and Duffy Monahon Fund of the New Hampshire  Charitable Foundation.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance was founded in 1985 as Inherit New Hampshire, a statewide, nonprofit, membership-based organization. Through leadership, education, and advocacy, it helps people preserve historic buildings, landscapes and communities. For more information, nhpreservation.org or call 603-224-2281.

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