Locals make plans for Dunster Schoolhouse

by EVAN MATTHEWS

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George has approved a grant to the Dunster Fine Arts School Society in the amount of $4,000.

The society recently applied for the funding, which will pay for the building’s insurance and the associated liability insurance, according to the RDFFG.

Every little bit helps, but the grant won’t cover all of the insurance, says Nancy Taylor, chair of the Dunster Fine Arts School Society.

“We’ll be covering the remainder through fundraising,” says Taylor.

It’s small grants like this one, Taylor says, that help to keep little societies like the Dunster Fine Arts School Society going, but ultimately Taylor says the society wants to be self-sustaining.

“We really appreciate the grants — we couldn’t have gotten to where we are without them — but they’re also a lot of work,” says Taylor.

“When you fundraise together, you build relationships, work together and build community,” she says.

The society paid off the mortgage on the Dunster School this past spring, Taylor says, but operational costs remain.

The mortgage was a seven-year-mortgage worth $39,500, or $44,000 with three per cent interest. The final payment was scheduled as due by November 2017, which instead was paid off a full year ahead of schedule.

However, the fact that there are operational costs associated with the building doesn’t change its value to the community, according to Taylor.

“Our (rental) rate is low, and people love being there,” says Taylor. “We will still be fundraising, and we’re looking to rent the space out more often.”

Though this year’s insurance is paid, Taylor says now is the time for the society to look to the future.

The society has two goals, Taylor says, which includes upgrading and painting the interior of the school, so it looks more like a community center.
The second goal is to market the space, she says.

In order to market, Taylor says, the society will be looking to expand the media it has available, as it looks to begin some filming and photography of the school to incorporate into marketing materials.

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