Butler Heritage Foundation awarded $300K grants to continue renovations

The Butler Heritage Foundation announces the awarding of two grants for a total of $300,000 toward ongoing and new renovations at the Butler Community Center at 1103 S. 6th Street in Hartsville. The Hartsville Boys and Girls Club of the Pee Dee Area provided $60,000 toward the replacement of the Butler Gymatorium floor. The Club’s gift was made largely possible through a $50,000 grant from the Longleaf Fund at Foundation for the Carolinas. Serving counties throughout the Carolinas, the Longleaf Fund awards capital grants for the purpose of strengthening “the character and achievement of at-risk children and youth while encouraging communities to reach higher and create opportunities for a brighter future.” Renovations to the Butler Gymatorium began in November and are expected to be completed by the end of June. Neal Zimmerman, CEO Boys & Girls Club, commented, “Since opening in 1999 on the Butler campus, our partnership with the Butler Heritage Foundation has been vital, enabling our Hartsville Club to provide afterschool and summer programming to over 400 youth annually. We are thrilled to be part of the Butler Gymnatorium renovation project and grateful to our friends at the Longleaf Fund for joining in.” The Butler Heritage Foundation also received a $240,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program. This competitive national program provides communities with funds to “clean up and revitalize brownfield sites,” which are areas with hazardous materials present such as asbestos. The goals of the grants are to support economic growth in historically divested areas by assisting the clean-up of brownfield sites. “The EPA Brownfields Grant has positioned the Foundation to remove all the remaining asbestos left on campus 5th Street building, cafeteria building, old classrooms, and old boiler,” said chairperson Rev. Christopher Fraizer. The Butler Heritage Foundation Board will be meeting with Hartsville community stakeholders to discuss the urgent needs for the city in light of campus improvements. The mission of the Butler Heritage Foundation is to preserve the legacy of Butler High School by establishing a community and cultural center, and by providing and supporting diverse programs for all. After graduating the class of 1982, Butler High School closed, and the campus was used by the Darlington County School District. In September 1991, alumni, friends, and former faculty organized to transform the campus into a community center. In November 1993, the Foundation formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit to continue the renovation and management of the campus. Today, the campus houses the Boys & Girls Club and the Butler Senior Center. On behalf of the Foundation board, Chairperson Fraizer wishes to “thank the Longleaf Fund and Hartsville Boys and Girls Club for their partnership in helping Butler Heritage Foundation continuing to preserve the legacy of Butler High School.” For updates about renovations or to support the Butler Heritage Foundation visit the Foundation’s website (http://www.butlerheritagefoundation.org/) and Facebook page.

Author: Rachel Howell

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