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Montvale nonprofit looking to restore crumbling school building into community hub

A group of community residents is determined to revitalize a circa-1930 school that was slated for demolition.

The Montvale School Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit formed in 2022, is negotiating with the Bedford County Board of Supervisors to take ownership of the old school building and convert the 13-acre property into a multipurpose community hub.

Roni Sutton is the president of the nonprofit. She took 10 News inside the crumbling building to see the state it’s in.

“What we want is a building for the community that is a mix of retail and health services. We have a beautiful commercial kitchen that’d we like to see used as a community kitchen,” Sutton said.

During the last year, the foundation staged several events on school grounds, including twice-monthly farmers markets from April to September, a car show and a Halloween event. This year, they’ve added a summer concert series and are also planning a Christmas market.

Over the years, the building underwent several expansions to reach its current 32,562 square feet. Its high school students moved to the new Liberty High School in Bedford in 1964. The building ended its service as an elementary school in 1996.

“There are many people who are still living in Montvale who either went to elementary school here or went to high school here. It’s just a great old building. It’s got really good bones. It’s imminently salvageable,” Sutton said.

Since the school closed, the county has repurposed parts of the building including the newest section which houses the Montvale branch of the Bedford Public Library System.

Some believe the school’s renovation could draw new attention to Montvale, and eventually attract retail businesses to create a “village center.”

Hill Studio in Roanoke, is partnering with the Montvale group to create a multiphase renovation plan and secure grants to support it.

Below is the schedule of the summer concert series where proceeds go to the restoration of the school.

  • June 22 – Phat Boys – $5 admission
  • July 20 – CCR – (a Creedence Clearwater Revivals tribute ban) – $10 admission per person, $15 per couple
  • August 31 – Phat Anchovies – $5 admission
  • Sep. 7 – TBA on bands – FREE
  • Oct. 5 – CCR – $10 admission per person, $15 per couple

Source: WSLS News 10

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