Thursday, July 7, 2011
Byhalia receives grant
By SUE WATSON
The Town of Byhalia has been notified it will receive a $100,000 grant to begin renovation of the auditorium at the old high school, now owned by the town, according to mayor Phil Malone.
The money is not expected to be available for the initial work until December 1 from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
“We’re excited we will be receiving this $100,000 to spend on this old high school,” Malone said. “The last several years we have applied for funding and not received it. It is also helping the townspeople to see some hope in restoring this old building.”
The exterior painting was done to help the school building be more eye-appealing while waiting for funding, he said.
“We thank Mr. Tommy (Representative Woods) for introducing the bill and our other elected officials who helped pass it,” Malone said. “It will be a good thing for Byhalia and Marshall County.”
Some basic things will be addressed first, such as heating and air conditioning for the structure, according to Faye Woods, president of the Byhalia Arts Council.
It has been estimated that up to $250,000 will be required to finish the project, according to Representative Woods. More funding will be sought as the renovation proceeds, he said.
Faye Woods said the Byhalia Arts Council proposes that the auditorium serve as a theater and playhouse and have space to house the arts council as well. Rooms behind the stage will be renovated and used for education of all ages in the performing and visual arts and crafts, she said.
The space will also be available for musical events.
The arts council recently received non-profit status and the council will reorganize in June, she said. The council’s board of directors will determine who wants to continue to serve on the board of directors and an advisory council will also be established, she said.
After reorganization takes place and a membership drive gets underway, Faye Woods said the council will schedule an arts/music event to welcome new members. An area wide music/arts festival is also anticipated but has not been scheduled because of other events already on the calendar in Byhalia.
“We are taking baby steps so we can do it correctly,” she said.
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