Article: First stage of $1 million Nashua PAL Youth Safe Haven renovation completed

Union Leader, By Paul Feely

NASHUA — Officials with Building on Hope, a volunteer organization of New Hampshire designers, architects, suppliers and builders, have completed work on an elevator shaft in Nashua PAL’s Youth Safe Haven building, one of the first major stages of a full $1 million renovation of the building.

According to Building on Hope co-chair Karen Van Der Beken, while adhering to social distancing guidelines given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Building on Hope team was able to stick with its original plan to construct the elevator shaft at Nashua PAL last month, and will continue construction in phases throughout the summer.

“There’s no way to predict how long we’ll be feeling the impact of this health crisis,” said Van Der Beken. “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.”

Every other spring since 2010, hundreds of volunteers from all over the state and beyond work around the clock for 10 straight days to renovate a New Hampshire nonprofit. This May, Building on Hope would have been in the middle of Build Week, leading up to a grand reveal of the completely renovated Nashua PAL Youth Safe Haven at 52 Ash St. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, in place of its usual 10-day extreme makeover-style Build Week, Building on Hope made the decision to complete renovations in phases throughout this summer for the health and safety of volunteers and the community.

Over the next few weeks, Nashua PAL personnel will vacate the building. While Building on Hope makes construction progress leading up to the “grand reveal celebration” planned for Oct. 4, Van Der Beken said, Nashua PAL provides services virtually while operating out of a neighboring building as needed.

“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. The addition of an elevator will allow for more welcoming youth programming, sports programs, and community events to take place here,” said Shaun Nelson, Nashua PAL’s executive director. “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. This project will benefit so many youth and families in Nashua for years to come.”

Over the past decade, Building on Hope’s team of volunteers have completed more than $4.1 million in community-supported renovation projects throughout New Hampshire.

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