|Highly visible from its prominent location atop North Hill at the intersection of Route 151-the old Post Road, and former Portland to Boston delivery route, and Route 111, the Hall is a wood framed structure of the Victorian Period that is remarkably original and structurally sound. Adjacent to the Town Common established in 1742 and distinguished bandstand, and the United Church of Christ circa 1761- the Hall''s construction was influenced by the Italianate, Mansard, and Stick styles of the period. The structure has 2 main floors, with a full basement and a full walk-up attic, which is topped by a Mansard roof and a cupola centered over the main entrance. The FOCH contracted with the noted architectural firm, JSA, Inc., of Portsmouth in developing conceptual plans that allows for complete modernization of the building while reserving the original structure, charm and integrity. |
Centennial Hall is opening its doors once again to community programming, thanks to on-going renovations. Already, FOCH has accomplished many critical exterior repairs as well as interior improvements, creating actively-used tenant space on the building''s lower floors. Our major milestones to date have included: preparing the first floor for occupancy and active use as dance and music studios; restoring a large portion of the slate and copper roof, making the building watertight; replacing the dormer windows; re-creating the original belfry and setting it atop the tower on Old Home Day 2001; gaining use of the basement; installing new front doors which are replicas of the originals; re-building and roofing the original canopy over the front entrance; and completely restoring the building''s largest window, located over the front doors. Soon, a new septic system will be installed in cooperation with the neighboring United Church of Christ.
Upcoming completion of repairs to Centennial Hall''s historic exterior will mark the end of the first phase of FOCH''s plan for its renaissance: with a weather-tight exterior and tenant spaces leased for arts education, FOCH will have met its early goals for building function, cash flow and programming. From this modest, sustainable base, FOCH will soon be ready to launch work to re-open the Auditorium, which is key to realizing its ultimate programmatic goals.
To support its goals for Centennial Hall, FOCH has secured major renovation funding through the highly competitive State Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP). Plans are in place for a capital campaign to raise funds to match and exceed the $116,258 LCHIP award designated for restoring and painting the exterior of the building, FOCH is coordinating support for its capital campaign through its new outreach initiative, Celebrating the Community Spirit, which encompasses increased media coverage, website launch, new building and event signage, special events programming and data base development.