Union Leader, By Adam Urquhart
NASHUA – Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, progress is still being made on the $1 million Nashua PAL renovation project, although a bit differently than originally envisioned.
An elevator shaft, one of the first major components of the full renovation of the Nashua PAL Youth SafeHaven, is finished. A team from Building on Hope, a volunteer organization of New Hampshire designers, architects, suppliers and builders, did it while following social distancing guidelines.
“Just the planning, generosity and volume of donors involved in the elevator alone demonstrate the resources that go into making these community-funded renovations possible,” said Jonathan Halle, Building on Hope co-chair said via press release. “While we adjust to the new normal, nothing about our motivation and commitment to the youth, staff, and volunteers of Nashua PAL has been put on pause.”
Donations of resources, materials and labor for the elevator shaft came from more than 50 people and 16 businesses.
“There’s no way to predict how long we’ll be feeling the impact of this health crisis. Rather than postpone Build Week and try to recreate the process we’re used to at a later date, our team is dedicated to forging ahead with flexibility, taking it one day and one project at a time in order to keep the health and safety of our volunteers and Nashua PAL our priority,” Karen Van Der Beken, Building on Hope co-chair, stated in a release.
Typically, every other spring hundreds of volunteers work around the clock for 10 days to renovate a nonprofit in the state. This has gone on since 2010, with projects including the 2016 Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL) Michael Briggs Community Center, a $1.8 million project that stands as the organization’s largest undertaking.
The Nashua PAL project is slated to continue in phases through the summer, a decision made with the health and safety of volunteers and the community in mind. A grand reveal celebration scheduled for Oct. 4.
“The Youth Safe Haven is here for the community and one of our priorities for the renovation has been making the building accessible to all community members,” Nashua PAL Executive Director Shaun Nelson stated in a release. “The addition of an elevator will allow for more welcoming youth programming, sports programs, and community events to take place here.”
Nashua PAL will vacate the building over the next few weeks as Building on Hope continues making progress. However, that Nashua PAL intends to continue services virtually and out of a neighboring building as needed.
“We are looking forward to many more accessibility updates as the Building on Hope renovation continues, and are immensely grateful to the Building on Hope committee for its flexibility and determination through the current situation,” Nelson stated. “This project will benefit so many youth and families in Nashua for years to come.”
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